Auden reaches the general public in a way most poets, especially contemporary literary poets, fail. His themes, language, rhythm, imagery and form are no less brilliant for being understood. So many of his pieces reach across decades to contemporary experience, and most general readers come to his anthologies having heard one of his poems used effectively in contemporary media. Everyone who saw "Four Weddings and a Funeral" fell in love with "Funeral Blues," which was read in the funeral scene. This volume has it.
His poem "September 1, 1939" circulated widely, especially via e-mail, as the anniversary of September 11 came around, is also attracting new interest. Unfortunately, that particular work is not included in this collection. All the same, it is a fine sampling of what Auden did across a long and prolific career. The edition has a nice physicality--a well produced hardcover, at a bargain price--perfect for leaving on the bedside or on an occasional table. This is poetry in an accessible package made for reading. It makes a good gift.