Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


Multiple Choice

W. H. Auden's "September 1, 1939"


Auden VanVechten1939Here it is again: September 1, 1939, eighty-two years later. Can you picture Auden at The Dizzy Club, that "dive" on Fifty-Second Street, (aka Swing Street) on that terrible day when the Germans invaded Poland and quaked the earth? One of the best stanzas is a metaphorical description of that bar and others like it.

Click here for the poem and here for the program that Michael Braziller and I did in fall 2008 on this and other of Auden's poems written after Wystan moved to New York City from England in 1939. 

Quiz of the day:
WHA disliked the last line of the penultimate stanza because he felt it was "dishonest," by which I think he meant "untrue."

He changed it to
(1) We must love one another and die
(2) We must love one another or die
(3) We must love one another or diet
(4) One must love mother nature or die
(5) If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Light up a Winston and think of dear Wystan. Bragging rights go to the winner!

August 13, 2021

July 01, 2021

April 06, 2021

March 18, 2021

February 03, 2021

January 31, 2021

November 05, 2020

September 01, 2020

August 24, 2020

March 17, 2020

September 01, 2019

June 05, 2019

March 24, 2019

September 01, 2018

July 12, 2018

July 09, 2018

March 23, 2018

December 24, 2017

August 13, 2017

March 20, 2016

Best American Poetry Web ad3
click image to order your copy
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Click image to order


A creative communications, branding, and resources consultancy founded by Victoria C. Rowan


Reach a Wide International Audience

Advertise on the Best American Poetry Blog


  • StatCounter