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W. H. Auden Quotes


An Anglo-American poet noted for his vast poetic work in a number of themes central in his times.
(1907 - 1973)

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'Healing,'' Papa would tell me, ''is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.''
[Art]
 

A poet can write about a man slaying a dragon, but not about a man pushing a button that releases a bomb.
 

A poet is a professional maker of verbal objects.
 

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
[Poetry]
 

A poet's hope: to be, like some valley cheese, local, but prized elsewhere.
 

A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep.
 

A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
 

A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do.
[America]
 

A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
[Art]
 

About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; How well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.
[Sorrow]
 

All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.
 

All that we are not stares back at what we are.
 

All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him.
[Art]
 

Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.
[Begin]
 

Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
[Life]
 

Any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting and significant than any romance, however passionate.
[Marriage]
 

Art is born of humiliation.
[Art]
 

Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.
[Art]
 

Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.
 

Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.
 


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