Quotes by W. H. Auden

A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.
– W. H. Auden
A poet is a professional maker of verbal objects.
– W. H. Auden
A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
– W. H. Auden
A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep.
– W. H. Auden
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
– W. H. Auden
A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do.
– W. H. Auden
A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
– W. H. Auden
All sins tend to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is damnation.
– W. H. Auden
Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.
– W. H. Auden
America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional, that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an Tlite which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust and resentment.
– W. H. Auden
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
– W. H. Auden
Art is born of humiliation.
– W. H. Auden
Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.
– W. H. Auden
Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.
– W. H. Auden
Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.
– W. H. Auden
Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.
– W. H. Auden
Composing mortals with immortal fire.
– W. H. Auden
Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.
– W. H. Auden
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
– W. H. Auden
Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.
– W. H. Auden