Wystan Hugh Auden Quotes

There have been few more radical changes in the history of Western culture than the change in attitude towards war and the military profession brought about by World War I. Western literature began as the literature of a warrior aristocracy, and until 1914 it took the warrior ethic for granted; it assumed that war was […]

“Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect” is one of Santayana’s most admirable epigrams. But chastity is meaningless except in relation to passion, and his own brand of seems to me little more than intellectual old-maidishness fittingly expressed in that genteel – and soporific – style for which is famous. No wonder he was averse […]

All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.

I am not one of those who believe that poetry need or even should be directly political, but in a critical period such as ours, I do believe that the poet must have direct knowledge of the major political events.

It’s a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.

The girl whose boy-friend starts writing her love poems should be on guard.

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested in armies and fleets; When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter, And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

What is a Professor of Poetry? How can poetry be professed?

Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.

I think that poetry is fundamentally frivolity. I do it because I like it. The only serious thing is loving God and your neighbor. Because you can say, “I’m not a mathematician,” or “I’m not an artist, and that’s all right because I have no talent for it.” Everything that isn’t required of you is […]