Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: “1st September 1939” by W.H. Auden

The date marked the moment when Germany invaded Poland, initiating the start of World War II. “September 1, 1939″ was originally published in The New Republic on October 18, 1939. In this video, which includes the complete original text of the poem, Tom O’Bedlam reads Auden’s famous lines. Auden later revised many of his poems, including this one, but most critics believe that the earlier versions were superior.

Biography of Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, an American citizen (from 1946), and regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety in tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.

Auden grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems from the late 1920s and early 1930s, written in an intense and dramatic tone and in a style that alternated between telegraphic modern and fluent traditional, established his reputation as a left-wing political poet. In the late 1930s, he became uncomfortable in this role and abandoned it after he moved to the United States in 1939. In his poems from the 1940s, he explored religious and ethical themes in a less dramatic manner than in his earlier works, and combined traditional forms and styles with new, original forms. The focus of many of his poems from the 1950s and 1960s was on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions. He took a particular interest in writing opera librettos, a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings. Following his death in 1973, his memorial stone was unveiled in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey in 1974.

220px-AudenVanVechten1939

Biography adapted from Wikipedia.

3 comments on “Video: “1st September 1939” by W.H. Auden

  1. Dan Cobb
    September 2, 2015

    Thank you for this! What a lovely education for me.

    Like

  2. sharondoubiago
    September 1, 2015

    “Sept 1, 1939,” Auden’s poem. I am always in the bed of my parents small pull trailer in a camp ground in southwest Portland Oregon, being with my father and mother as they struggle to survive his serious heart attack. I am away from my two children and man, who are back on Topanga Beach, north of Santa Monica, a most unusual state for me, one of the first times I’m alone, confronting the strong possibility that he won’t make it. Auden is on tv, a special on him. Perhaps he has just died. I don’t want my father to die, and so am turning myself into medicine, into a way to help my mother help him survive. I had more or less “dropped out,” after obtaining my Masters, but seeing Auden, hearing him read “Sept 1, 1939,” was part of my coming back. “We must love one another or die.” Interview of me by Julia Doughtyhttp://www.sharondoubiago.com/blog.htm?post=1001628 From: Vox Populi To: sharondoubiago@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 2:07 AM Subject: [New post] Video: “1st September 1939” by W.H. Auden #yiv4049689156 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4049689156 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4049689156 WordPress.com | Vox Populi posted: “The date marked the moment when Germany invaded Poland, initiating the start of World War II. “September 1, 1939″ was originally published in The New Republic on October 18, 1939. In this video, which includes the complete original text of the poem, T” | |

    Like

  3. sharondoubiago
    September 1, 2015

    I am always in the bed of my parents small pull trailer in a camp ground in southwest Portland Oregon, there being with my father and mother as they struggle to survive his serious heart attack. I am away from my two children and man, who are back on Topanga Beach, north of Santa Monica, a most unusual state for me, one of the first times I’m alone, confronting the strong possibility that he won’t make it. Auden is on tv, a special on him. Perhaps he has just died. I don’t want my father to die, and so am turning myself into medicine, into a way to help my mother help him survive. Thanks for this. I had more or less “dropped out,” after obtaining my Masters, but seeing Auden was part of my coming back.   Interview of me by Julia Doughtyhttp://www.sharondoubiago.com/blog.htm?post=1001628 From: Vox Populi To: sharondoubiago@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 2:07 AM Subject: [New post] Video: “1st September 1939” by W.H. Auden #yiv4049689156 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4049689156 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4049689156 a.yiv4049689156primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4049689156 WordPress.com | Vox Populi posted: “The date marked the moment when Germany invaded Poland, initiating the start of World War II. “September 1, 1939″ was originally published in The New Republic on October 18, 1939. In this video, which includes the complete original text of the poem, T” | |

    Like

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