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New Year Letter

One of W. H. Auden’s most famous poems is “September 1, 1939,” which you likely remember from its well-known denomination of the 1930s as “a low dishonest decade” and its soaring admonition: “We must love one another or die.” (This poem—and that line in particular—is luminously glossed by Spencer Lenfield at the JHI Blog here.) Auden hated that poem, however: he called it “the most dishonest poem I have ever written” and carried his recantation into the curation of his works—it does not appear (by his wish) in his Collected Poems. Yet only four months later he began a poem Read more