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21 February 1907
29 September 1973
21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973
W. H. Auden, in full Wystan Hugh Auden, was an English-born poet and man of letters who achieved early fame in the 1930s as a hero of the left during the Great Depression. Most of his verse dramas of this period were written in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood.
Auden's poetic works include The Age of Anxiety (1947, Pulitzer Prize) and the collections Another Time (1940) and Homage to Clio (1960). With his longtime companion Chester Kallman, he wrote opera librettos, notably The Rake’s Progress (1951) for Igor Stravinsky.
Some of Auden's best known poems are about love, such as "Funeral Blues"; on political and social themes, such as "September 1, 1939" and "The Shield of Achilles"; on cultural and psychological themes, such as The Age of Anxiety; and on religious themes such as "For the Time Being" and "Horae Canonicae".
Auden's poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement. His poetry was encyclopaedic in scope and method, ranging in style from obscure twentieth-century modernism to the lucid traditional forms such as ballads and limericks, from doggerel through haiku and villanelles to a "Christmas Oratorio" and a baroque eclogue in Anglo-Saxon meters.
Generally considered the greatest English poet of the twentieth century, W. H. Auden's work has exerted a major influence on succeeding generations of poets on both sides of the Atlantic. After his death, his poems became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media.
“Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.”
“We must love one another or die”
“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.”