About the house

by W. H. Auden

Hardcover, 1965

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New York, Random House [1965]

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LibraryThing member thorold
A rather mixed, but mostly very enjoyable late collection of shorter poems. The sequence "About the house" - a poem for each of the rooms in their home - takes up about half the book, and is the most interesting part of the collection; then there are some poems written for particular friends, and a bunch of occasional poems written to mark various events (dinners, gaudies, etc.). These last were probably very impressive if you were there when Auden read them, but fifty years later you can't help feeling that he might have been better advised not to let them be printed.

I particularly enjoyed some of the odder poems in the "About the House" sequence, especially of course the Enderby-esque meditation on the cultural importance of defecation with which he celebrates "the smallest room". It's worth buying the book for this alone (and for the elegant Faber cover design, of course.
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