Louis MacNeice
Selected Poems, edited by Michael Longley.
Faber & Faber, 240 pages, £12.99

Just as Ernest Dowson, Oscar Wilde, Lionel Johnson, and the young W. B. Yeats were known in their day as “poets of the Nineties,” Louis MacNeice, W. H. Auden, C. Day-Lewis, and Stephen Spender are known as “poets of the Thirties.” What opium, thwarted love, and alcohol were to the Decadents, Marxism, rejection of the old order, and alcohol were to the young poets of the 1930s, arguably the most volatile decade of a volatile century. Auden is the most remembered and revered of this group. Yet MacNeice, who published his own take on some of the same events Auden bore witness to, seems in retrospect saner and more prescient. His centenary last year was celebrated with a certain amount of fanfare in his native Ireland and in his adopted home, England. Faber has recently issued a paperback Selected Poems,...

 

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