Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Engagé Poems

W.H. Auden, A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (New York: The Viking Press, 1970), p. 87:
By all means let a poet, if he wants to, write engagé poems, protesting against this or that political evil or social injustice. But let him remember this. The only person who will benefit from them is himself; they will enhance his literary reputation among those who feel as he does. The evil or injustice, however, will remain exactly what it would have been if he had kept his mouth shut.
Auden indicates no source, so presumably the paragraph is his own.

Hat tip: Karl Maurer, An Introduction to Robert Frost: A Talk with Notes. Edited by Adam Cooper and Taylor Posey (Asheville: Taylor Posey, Publisher, 2021), p. 5, where this passage is quoted. Thanks very much to one of Karl's former students, who sent me this beautiful book as a gift, and thanks to all who are keeping Karl's memory alive.

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