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Tell Me the Truth About Love: Fifteen Poems Paperback – 4 Oct 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (4 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571202608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571202607
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 436,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Had he been writing now, Auden might well have penned a poem entitled "Tell me the Truth About Publishing", for the publication of this special, short collection was directly inspired by the runaway success of the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral in which one of Auden's poems was recited. Stretching from October 1932 to June 1948, the poems may have been more revelatory had they been arranged chronologically but commercial demands have placed "Funeral Blues", forevermore known as the poem in the movie, at the end, while "Lullaby", arguably a better poem, is tucked away inside. The period partly coincides with Auden going to America in January 1939 and "Calypso" pulses with the rhythm of a train taking him to his New York rendez-vous at Grand Central. "For there in the middle of that waiting-hall, / Should be standing the one that I love best of all." Many of the poems have the same jolly air and belting rhythm and indeed were written as cabaret songs. "At Last the Secret is Out" must have been tongue-in-cheek considering Auden's sexuality, yet the cover of this slim tome is resolutely heterosexual. But for dipping into Auden's work, this volume serves its purpose. "Funeral Blues" captures the sense of disbelief that the world has the audacity to continue after one has been bereaved. The Cole Porter tone of flippancy and humour--"Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves", makes the understated grief all the more poignant. He declares the emblems of romance redundant. "The stars are not wanted now; put out every one." He swings from the grandiose to the mundane and in doing so, sweeps the reader up in the aura of all-emcompassing love. "He was my North, my South, my East and West, / My working week and my Sunday rest." "Lullaby" retains immense mystery and power. Here he evokes the preciousness of one night spent with someone who isn't his. "Let the living creature lie, / Mortal, guilty, but to me, / The entirely beautiful." It leaves much unexplained, yet quite particular, so that it draws one back again and again: "Lay your sleeping head, my love, / Human on my faithless arm..." What an astonishing opener. --Cherry Smyth

Book Description

Tell Me the Truth About Love gathers fifteen of W. H. Auden's most famous love poems and cabaret songs, including the 'Funeral Blues' famously included in Four Weddings and a Funeral, as well as other favourites such as 'Lullaby' and 'Calypso'.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Laura C on 5 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I thought this collection of Auden's poems was lovely, contains a few of his better known poems, definately worth a read. Would be ideal if you are just beginning to show an interest in Auden or poetry in general.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By movedbymortensen on 4 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Only fifteen poems.... all of which are so delicately chosen. What a shame there aren't a hundred and fifteen of Auden's.

It was like tasting one single perfect cocktail snack then being left begging for more. Breathtaking in simplicity, tearjerking for the same reasons.... a gentle knife slicing the skin off one's hardened old heart again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Marshall on 18 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
Fifteen love poems, some such as 'Funeral Blues' quite famous, written in the thirties. Many of these poems do tell you truths about love and do so with a flowing, sometimes disconcerting, lyricism, that shows great command of language coupled with penetrating observations on the human condition. He makes it look so easy and natural. Here's a snippet:

In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

Must read more Auden.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs G on 4 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived in good condition and in good time. The poems are typically Auden and it is a good introduction to his poetry and also if you are beginning to study poetry for the first time. The book also includes the Funeral Blues poem that was quoted in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Overall a good read!
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Format: Paperback
This short collection of 15 poems and cabaret songs, mainly from the 1930s pre-USA sojourn, was published because of the featuring of "Funeral Blues" in the 1994 smash hit film, "Four Weddings and a Funeral". Whereas "Funeral Blues" captures brilliantly the incongruity where the bereaved thinks the world has come to an end, whilst the world carries on regardless, and "Calypso" is a boisterous love poem, it's the poem "Lullaby", describing the passion of an illicit one-night stand, that has the power and is the outstanding example of Auden's work presented here.
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