W. H. Auden - a collection of Auden's poems, selected by John Fuller - is one of six wonderful poetry collections published to celebrate Faber's eightieth anniversary.
W. H. Auden was born in York in 1907. He went to Christ Church College, Oxford, where Stephen Spender privately printed a booklet of his poems. After university he lived for a time in Berlin, before returning to England to teach. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber in 1930. Other volumes of poems and plays followed during the 1930s. He went to Spain during the civil war, and then on to Iceland (with Louis MacNeice) and later travelled to China. In 1939 he and Christopher Isherwood left for America, where Auden spent the next fifteen years lecturing, reviewing, writing poetry and opera librettos, and editing anthologies. He became an American citizen in 1946, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. In 1956 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and a year later went to live in Kirchstetten in Austria, after spending several summers on Ischia. He died in Vienna in 1973.
In a brilliant audio packaging concept, these three tapes initiate an "audio and book" series. The poets (all now deceased) read from their work, and there is a 64-page book presenting an introductory biographical and critical overview by editor J.D. McClatchy, plus text of the poems, photos, and illuminating fragments from letters. Plath's two readings, as the editor notes, show a dramatic tonal difference, from the flat recitation of early poems to the stark, cutting, forceful severity of her voice as she moves through the poems that would be collected posthumously as Ariel. The readings by Merrill and Auden are culled from various sources, especially important in Merrill's case, where McClatchy has sought out the more accessible of the poet's often complex poems. Surprisingly, Auden's reading is the least pleasurable, perhaps because there are many other recordings of him reading his own work. These tapes, and hopefully others to follow in this series, are a perfect means of introducing interested but uncommitted readers and listeners to poetry. Essential for all libraries.ÄRochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-Read by author. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.