Happy birthday, Auden.

by onepuzzledspecies

Auden with Spender and  Isherwood on the beach

Auden with Spender and Isherwood on the beach

Wystan Hugh Auden was born on the 21st of Feburary, 1907.

Today I have marked the anniversary by listening to Auden’s own recorded readings of his poetry and to readings by other people on youtube. I also found a short documentary from 2000 that I hadn’t seen before: Tell Me The Truth About Love.

Reading some of his poems for myself, I once again remembered how much I enjoy the rythm and sound of Auden’s lyrics. I decided to record a few of my favourites, three poems from the collection Another Time, and two from the Sonnet Sequence “Sonnets from China,” which first appeared in Auden and Isherwood’s Journey to a War. 

Enjoy the poetry, the Norwegian accent and the background noise from the street outside our apartment.

Lullaby (from Another Time)

Wrapped in a yielding air (Another Time)

Another Time (from Another Time)

Sonnet I from “Sonnets from China” (Originally published in Journey to a War, the cycle was later cut down and edited slightly. This version is from Collected Poems, I think)

Sonnet XI from “Sonnets from China”

Auden with Cecil Day-Lewis and Stephen Spender. One of my favourite pictures of Auden with company

Auden with Cecil Day-Lewis and Stephen Spender. One of my favourites.

Older Auden in a characteristic pose, his face deeply wrinkled after one year too many  of cigarettes, alcohol and Benzedrine. He used to compare his own face to a "wedding cake left out in the rain"

An older Auden in a characteristic pose, his face deeply wrinkled after one year too many of cigarettes, alcohol and Benzedrine. He used to compare his own face to a “wedding cake left out in the rain”