W. H. Auden

W. H. Auden, born in 1908 in York, is considered the greatest Anglo-American poet of the twentieth century. Encyclopedic in scope and technical achievement, his four hundred poems elucidate everything from pop cliche to profound meditation. September 1, 1939, written at the outbreak of World War II and widely circulated after September 11, 2001, is evidence of relevance that remains undiminished by time. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for The Age of Anxiety, Auden also composed hundreds of essays, lectures, and reviews, whose pervasive power gave him the status of respected elder statesman. He died in Vienna in 1973.

Photograph by Howard Coster. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0, © National Portrait Gallery, London.