Reflections on W H Auden’s New Year Letter & Early Poetry
New Year Letter
In 1940 when Europe was being ravaged by war a 33 year old W. H. Auden penned his ‘New Year Letter’ to a friend. In 1990 Gil Bailie spent some time reflecting on this long poem full of erudite references to historical, literary, political and religious subjects.
“We are, I know not how, double in ourselves, so that what we believe we disbelieve and cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn.” – Montainge
In the 1930’s W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood visited China under the auspices of their British publishers to report on the Sino-Japanese war. Auden returned with writings called the ‘War Sonnets’ or ‘Sonnets from China’. Gil Bailie explores some of these as well as other poems from Auden’s wide repertoire.