Selected poems

by W. H. Auden

Paperback, 1989





New York : Vintage International, 1989.


This significantly expanded edition of W. H. Auden’s Selected Poems adds twenty poems to the hundred in the original edition, broadening its focus to better reflect the enormous wealth of form, rhetoric, tone, and content in Auden’s work. Newly included are such favorites as “Funeral Blues” and other works that represent Auden’s lighter, comic side, giving a fuller picture of the range of his genius. Also new are brief notes explaining references that may have become obscure to younger generations of readers and a revised introduction that draws on recent additions to knowledge about Auden. As in the original edition, the new Selected Poems makes available the preferred original versions of some thirty poems that Auden revised later in life, making it the best source for enjoying the many facets of Auden’s art in one volume.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Cynara
Auden was the first poet of my teen years, so I think I lost all critical detachment some time ago. I came across his poem on the death of Yeats in an anthology, or perhaps in English class, and went down to the library at lunch to look up more of his work.

I was immediately absorbed and moved. The
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beauty of the language and the emotional-but-ironic tone seduced me entirely. I can't recall if I bought this book for myself or was given it by a parent, but it was my constant companion for years, and shows it. There's a crease running through the right third of the cover, the corners are curled, and favourite poems are marked with astrisks (for my first, 14-yr old enthusiams) and with other light pencil lines for later loves.

That was the beginning of a non-stop poetry orgy that lasted for over ten years. I don't read as much poetry these days, being all enthused over other things, but I know I'll return to it, and Auden will always be one of my household gods.
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LibraryThing member elfortunawe
If you're considering taking on Auden, then start here. Though the Collected Poems is certainly the superior collection, this book makes the better introduction. Auden edited his corpus repeatedly, even removing entire works, such as "Spain," regardless of the esteem they were held in. This
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collection represents early Auden better. It includes earlier versions of his poems, as well the first incarnation of "Spain." It also has a good introduction by Auden's literary executor Edward Mendelson. If, after finishing this, you find your thirst for Auden's poetry unslaked (or intensified, as I did), then get the Collected Poems.

A note: my copy is of the expanded second edition (2007), and it has typos, most notably in the "Vespers" of Horae Canonicae where it reads "He hope they will behave like baritoni cattivi," but should read, "He hopes..." I'm not aware of any others, but check your copy before you buy it.
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LibraryThing member ElizabethPisani
Full of surprises and gems. Good soul food for sad days, because just as you are feeling routed and lost, he reminds you that the torturer's horse is scratching his innocent behind on a tree. An Old Master indeed.
LibraryThing member melannen
Somewhere, I got it in to my head that I don't like Auden, or at least that I'm not meant to like Auden, which makes it a pleasant surprise every time I pick up this book and realize just how good he is.


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