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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!


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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

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