Poster for “Charly” (1968)

ABC Motion Pictures.

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This was W. H. Auden’s first book of poetry.

It was hardly more than a chapbook, really — it was a hand-printed pamphlet informally published in 1928 by Auden’s friend and fellow Briton, the poet and essayist Stephen Spender (second photo).  Auden would have been about 21 at the time.  In other words, Auden’s career began in a manner not unlike many indie poets today.

Only about 45 copies of Poems were released.  The book is today considered one of the rarest in 20th Century literature.

To make matters just a bit more confusing, Auden’s next two books of poetry, in 1930 and 1934, were likewise entitled simply Poems.  (And the 1930 book had two editions.)  Oddly, Auden wanted no distinctive title for any of the books because he thought a title might distract the reader from the content of the poems themselves.)  The 1930 volume was accepted for publisher Faber & Faber by none other than T.S. Eliot, who was one of his earliest influences.

 

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The unthinkable is happening. I may be becoming a country music fan.

Well, that might be putting things a bit strongly.  But there are now three country songs that I love: James McMurty’s “No More Buffalo,” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” and now the song below.

It’s Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” and it’s damned good.  I was out around New London one night when it came on the radio and it immediately grabbed my attention.  Karen Fairchild’s vocals are perfect.

 

Bee afraid, bee very afraid …

If you’re looking for a way to spend a lazy Sunday evening, then stop over at The Bees Are Dead for the best in dystopian poetry, prose, art and photography.

There’s some haunting poetry by Jonathan May and Jon Bennett, as well as some stark, vivid photography of abandoned buildings by Kathryn Nee.

 

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Credit: By ADBGVA (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

W. H. Auden reads “Alonso to Ferdinand”

This is my favorite poem of all time — read by my favorite poet of all time.

Once again, this is an excerpt from Auden’s “The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare’s The Tempest,” first published in 1944.