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Public Programs

Where He Was: Auden in America

Feb 25, 2018

Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960, takes a poem by W.H. Auden as its starting point. Titled "September 1, 1939," it considers the "euphoric dream" of American life on the cusp of world war, through the eyes of a foreigner—an Englishman. But why was Auden’s understanding of his adopted homeland so enduringly clear-eyed? Join two other US-based émigré writers, poet Paul Muldoon and professor Michael Wood, for a conversation about Auden in America. A collaboration with the London Review of Books, Europe’s leading magazine of books and ideas, their discussion will draw on Wood’s writing about Auden for the LRB, and Muldoon’s pastiche of his work in the poem "7, Middagh Street." Participants will reflect on the USA’s significance for Auden, and vice versa, and why outsider perspectives can be the best mirror for a nation seeking to understand itself. Paul Muldoon has taught at Princeton University for thirty years, and is the author of twelve collections of poetry including Moy Sand and Gravel, for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Michael Wood is professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at Princeton, and the author of over 300 essays in the LRBarchive. On Empson is his latest book.