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From First Things: Auden and the Limits of Poetry

First Things has published an amazing and wonderful essay by Alan Jacbos called “Auden and the Limits of Poetry” which, being limited, discovers its immense value.


Auden uses poetry to remind us of what poetry can never give us. But, in the end, this assigns poetry a genuine and important role, as it points always beyond itself in a strangely mute witness to that of which it is unable definitively to speak. As Auden wrote in one of his later poem,

We can only do what it seems to us we were made for,
look at this world with a happy eye but from a sober perspective.

Read the whole thing.

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