Although the commemoration in New York of the tenth anniversary of W. H. Auden’s death was a touching way for the poet’s many friends and admirers to honor his memory, it also offered the chance for others to reconsider Auden’s work. “I think that he was the greatest poet in the English language in this century,” declared Joseph Brodsky, the Russian émigré poet. It was Brodsky’s idea to organize the week-long tribute, which was jointly sponsored by The New York Institute for the Humanities and the American Academy of Poets. The events included a Requiem Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a reading by contemporary poets of their favorite Auden poems at the Guggenheim Museum, a screening of The Rake’s Progress, a symposium on Auden’s legacy at New York University, and the placing of a plaque at Auden’s old home on St. Mark’s Place.


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