At a glance:
- Author: W. H. Auden
- First Published: 1941
- Type of Poem: Epistle/letter in verse
- Genres: Poetry, Epistolary literature
- Subjects: Immortality, Poetry or poets, 1920's, Death or dying, Gods or goddesses, Holidays, Bereavement or grief, Afterlife, Sacrifice, Russia or Russian people
“New Year Letter” is an occasional poem written to commemorate the beginning of 1940. Although it is a letter to W. H. Auden’s friend Elizabeth Mayer, its scope greatly exceeds the parameters of most personal letters, as it reflects upon an incredible range of subjects. It can be considered primarily a meditation on World War II and a tribute to Auden’s friend. The poem’s three parts develop by association rather than by logic.
Part 1 focuses on the disorder of the world in 1940, the human desire for order, and the order that art creates. It begins with...
(The entire page is 2392 words.)
Want to read the whole thing?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus, get access to:
- 30,000+ literature study guides
- Critical essays on more than 30,000 works of literature from Salem on Literature (exclusive to eNotes)
- An unparalleled literary criticism section. 40,000 full-length or excerpted essays.
- Content from leading academic publishers, all easily citable with our "Cite this page" button.
- 100% satisfaction guarantee READ MORE