Cleaning Up After W.H. Auden

March 30, 2020

If you’re growing more and more annoyed with your roommate during the quarantine, comfort yourself with the knowledge that, at the very least, you’re not living with W.H. Auden. At the Paris Review, Seamus Perry provides an overview of Auden’s slovenly living habits. His friend Charles Miller provided an eye-opening look into the poet’s New York City apartment: “An oval platter served as ashtray, heaped with a homey Vesuvius of cigarette butts, ashes, bits of cellophane from discarded packs, a few martini-soaked olive pits, and a final cigarette stub issuing a frail plume of smoke from the top of the heap, signature of a dying volcano. This Auden-scape reeked of stale coffee grounds, tarry nicotine, and toe jam mixed with metro pollution and catshit, Wystanified tenement tang.”

Image credit: Svenska Dagbladet via IMS Vintage Photos

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.