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Collected Poems

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,961 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Between 1927 and his death in 1973, W. H. Auden endowed poetry in the English language with a new face.Or rather, with several faces, since his work ranged from the political to the religious, from the urbane to the pastoral, from the mandarin to the invigoratingly plain-spoken.

This collection presents all the poems Auden wished to preserve, in the texts that received his
Paperback, 960 pages
Published April 23rd 1991 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1945)
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Jul 24, 2007 Cinco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, own, poetry
People are always surprised to hear this is Auden's, but it is:

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling-in-money,
The screamingly-funny,
And those who are very well hung.
Patrick Gibson
Jul 31, 2011 Patrick Gibson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

There is never a volume of Auden far from me. No matter who you are or what your background, he is a poet you can love.

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
Is fold
Emilian Kasemi
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell...

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
Jun 16, 2013 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
673 pages of Auden’s poetry, from 1927, when he was 20, to 1972, the year before his death. I’m not going to pretend to have anything original to say about Auden and there are single poems of his about which a full review could be written. So this is just going to be some impressions.

First, this was a slog. I can certainly stand impressed with his intelligence (clearly a genius) and his skill with craft but I won’t be calling him a favorite. Though he is to be lauded as a serious poet who was al
Nancy Watson
Nov 03, 2007 Nancy Watson rated it really liked it
I first became aware of Auden in my early teens after hearing a reading of Funeral Blues in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. That poem enchanted me and I have been an Auden fan since! This collection of poems may seem a bit daunting because of the size; good for picking up and reading a few at a time or getting lost in Auden's spell-binding language for hours at a time.
Aug 07, 2010 Aaron rated it it was amazing
The greatest poet of the past 100 years.

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstrac
Sep 05, 2015 Robert rated it really liked it
For a month or more now I've been dipping into a 900 page collection of poems by W.H.Auden, edited by Edward Mendelson. Since there's no way to "review" such a massive book, I'll divide this comment into two parts: I. Why You Should Read Auden and 2) Why You Should Not Read Auden.

I. Why You Should Read Auden:

--Auden was a master of virtually all poetic forms employed in English.

--Auden's range extended from the melancholy to the cheeky.

--Auden made poetry out of everyday life and friendships.

Jan 01, 2010 Whitney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I don't usually read poetry anymore, but when I want to this is definitely the book I turn to.
Dec 14, 2010 Celeste rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, faves, own
I will be reading this book until I die.
Ken W.
Mar 12, 2013 Ken W. marked it as to-read
Having read an autobigraphy, interspersed with poetry, of Auden by Charles Osborne, I think I have a better understanding, holistically, of the man and his writing. Auden used his wayward intellect to create a flippant, yet cleverly contrived personal style, with witticisms of the cartoonish kind, and bon mots, to be applauded like a theatrical event, similar to his many collaborations with Stravinsky and Benjamin Britten.

He was sometimes outrageously gay, and belonged to an Oxford group which
Jun 15, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Auden tends to either hit the mark with great skill, or be totally off base.

It's nice to have the whole collection of poems, but there are a lot of totally forgettable ones in here.

However, some of his work is so starkly and utterly beautiful, this is a collection I'll always want to have with me.

"Lullaby" alone makes this a treasured book.
Oct 01, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing
I dipped back into the old Auden collection this week. Wow, still blown away. He's our bridge from the Romantic to the Modern. Formally flawless in so many poems, always stimulating intellectually, even when he misses the mark. I favour the earlier poems, but find beauty throughout.
Oct 21, 2009 Olivia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
There are many poems in here I have yet to mine, but this collection has kept me company on many cold nights when all I want to do is curl up with some words, some wine, and my own thoughts. Tough to beat.
Bob Wollenberg
Aug 01, 2012 Bob Wollenberg rated it it was amazing
Sometimes clear as a bell. Sometimes I'm lost. But lots of it really sends my mind off in new directions. Wonderful! It's worth it to read his Christmas poem/play "for the time being."
Nov 24, 2008 Lindsey rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I thought I liked Auden; apparently I only like the few poems editors always anthologize. His later poems are better though.
Christy B
Mar 27, 2011 Christy B rated it it was amazing
How I have a degree in Literature and barely read Auden til this past Winter is beyond me. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Mr. Brammer
Jun 20, 2015 Mr. Brammer rated it it was amazing
Auden famously stated that "poetry makes nothing happen", which could be read or humility or a defense of art for art's sake. The latter makes more sense, as Auden was clearly hoping for a place in the lineage of his poetic antecedents, and a permanent home in the canon. And while he wrote big, important poems, his most direct influences were from those slightly older poets - Eliot and Yeats - who were concerned with creating a connection between personal faith and the decline of Western civiliz ...more
Garth Mailman
May 13, 2015 Garth Mailman rated it really liked it
This is not a deluxe edition of the poems though at nearly 1000 pages one that gave each poem its unique page would create a wrist sprainer or require two volumes. Nevertheless there are times when the poems feel crammed. Any time one starts reading a new poet understanding his/her handling of the language, their allusions and metaphors is a challenge. Any writer is a child of their own era. Auden is a master of poetic language, his lines read so naturally one can forget they are actually rhymin ...more
Bryana Johnson
Well, in all honesty, I didn’t actually read the complete poems. However, I got well over half-way through this one before deciding I needed to take a really long break from Auden – as in, I’m done with this book. Auden’s writing includes many really strong pieces and I expect that several verses from here will stick with me for the rest of my life. However, my ultimate conclusion was that the man would be regarded far more highly today if he had burned up about half of what he wrote before it e ...more
Mar 19, 2009 Brian rated it liked it
Hmmm. I checked this book out because I'd read a couple of Auden's more anthologized poems, "The Unknown Citizen" and "The More Loving One," and enjoyed them very much. Well, it turns out they're not typical. Auden reminds me of Eliot in some ways -- fond of allusion and over-figurative language that confuses rather than illuminating, or at least says "this poem is not for you." Even at his worst, however, Eliot is pithy. "The Waste Land" is incomprehensible, but you can extract a few dozen abso ...more
Feb 28, 2008 Joel rated it liked it
Recommended to Joel by: Eugene Peterson
This is a huge book of poetry(around 1000 pages) and all I read was "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio." It is a long poem, a word-meditation on the incarnation of Christ the Lord. Auden does a masterful job of contextualizing it for us, dressing Joseph and Mary, even Caesar and Simeon, in our cultural clothing, and in doing so, helps us place ourselves into the Gospel story. There are times where I felt a bit removed from Auden's cultural setting (heavy modernism), but overall, there are ...more
R.J. Lynch
Jul 10, 2014 R.J. Lynch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The three poets writing in English in the 20th century who mean most to me are Eliot, Auden and Larkin. These are the poems I return to again and again; theirs are the lines that pop into my head most often. My life would be a poorer thing without them.
Dec 04, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Read a chunk of these before I had to return the book to the library. Auden's early stuff is too opaque for me to enjoy, but his later stuff is wonderful.
Stephen Mander
Jan 24, 2016 Stephen Mander rated it it was amazing
Auden's everyday rhythms are disarmingly complex in their echoes. One for the fireside, methinks.
Mugren Al-Ohaly
Mar 13, 2014 Mugren Al-Ohaly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Some of his stuff might be dry. But, it's brilliant when he's on point. I'd recommend reading a collection of his short poems rather than this.
Sep 29, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing
eye bags like potato chips
Ăhmąd Elägamy
Nov 21, 2014 Ăhmąd Elägamy rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Dec 12, 2014 Allison rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I don't love Auden.
Kelby Cotton
I find Auden to be a mixed bag, full of wonder and yet also mundane and pedantic. He often puts words together for the sake of sound, but not meaning. And yet, and yet, it will all come together at times and his work will simply blow my socks off. I will come back to him again and again.
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Wystan Hugh Auden was an Anglo-American poet, best known for love poems such as Funeral Blues, poems on political and social themes such as September 1, 1939 and The Shield of Achilles, poems on cultural and psychological themes such as The Age of Anxiety, and poems on religious themes such as For the Time Being and Horae Canonicae. He was born in York, grew up in and near Birmingham in a professi ...more
More about W.H. Auden...

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“He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.”
“Evil is unspectacular and always human,
And shares our bed and eats at our own table ....”
More quotes…