Poetry Friday: Auden and His Housemates
October 13, 2006
One book I've been wanting to read for some time is Sherill Tippins's February House, which bears the subtitle "The Story of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Paul and Jane Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Wartime America." Can you imagine! The New Yorker said, "Tippins’s book is a cozy, gossipy read, punctuated by solid, if perfunctory, literary criticism."
Talking about February House brings to mind the Auden poem "September 1, 1939," which was quoted often around the time of 9/11/01; thanks to the Academy of American Poets, you can read it online. It begins,
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
The house that Auden and the rest of the group lived in was in Brooklyn Heights. As a young man, my grandfather lived in a boarding house in Brooklyn for two years, which his family always said gave him enough stories for the next sixty-five. I look forward to catching up with February House in the near future.
To see a roundup of all today's Poetry Friday participants, visit Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy. Don't you wish there was a virtual White Horse Tavern? It's almost time for Happy Hour.
Next week I will lasso all the Poetry Friday posts right here at Rancho Chicken Spaghetti.
It's every bit as wonderful as you imagine. To wit:
Most alarming to Auden, meals turned out to be equally casual. Carson enjoyed playing chef, but her menus were limited to such dishes as meat patties, canned green pea soup with wienies, and a concoction she called "Spuds Carson"--mashed potatoes mixed with onions, cheese, or whatever she found in the larder. Even these were often burnt to the consistency of charcoal, since Carson tended to wander off and forget that she was cooking.
Posted by: amcorrea | October 13, 2006 at 08:12 PM
I can't wait! I was hoping someone who'd read the book would chime in. I'm moving up Feburary House to #3 on the TBR list. First are the two Kiran Desai novels. Thanks!
Posted by: Susan | October 14, 2006 at 09:34 AM
Here's a bit more...
Posted by: amcorrea | October 14, 2006 at 05:16 PM
You're definitely in for a treat with "February House." I thought it was marvellous. It made my list of ten best reads of 2005. Here's a link to the blog review that I posted when I read it last year:
Posted by: Kate S. | October 14, 2006 at 08:19 PM
Thanks for the link to your review! I'm going to dash over to my library (the web site) and see if it has this book.
Posted by: Susan | October 14, 2006 at 08:45 PM