13 May 2009

Christopher Isherwood re W. H. Auden

[Christopher Isherwood from W. H. Auden edited by John Haffenden, Routledge, 1997]

He was very lazy. He hated polishing and making corrections. If I didn’t like a poem, he threw it away and wrote another. If I liked one line, he would keep it and work it into a new poem. In this way whole poems were constructed which were simply anthologies of my favourite lines, entirely regardless of grammar or sense. This is the simple explanation of much of Auden’s celebrated obscurity.

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