Monday, April 02, 2007

Auden & Ginsberg

W.H. Auden’s poetry towards the end of his life assumed a folksy pointlessness. The poems were charming, but why bother? Allen Ginsberg wrote a parody or homage to this particular vein of Wystan's verse in Indian Journals; and it amused me mightily. I asked Wystan if he liked Allen’s homage. Wystan seemed, if not excited, suddenly alert. No, he’d never seen it, and would I please send it to him? Months later I told Allen how much I liked that poem. Allen wondered whether Auden had seen it. Auden’s seen it, I said.
--How do you know? Allen asked.
--Because I sent it to him.
Allen looked stricken.
--My poem was mean, he said.


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