W. H. Auden: Pennine Poet

by Alan Myers and Robert Forsythe

Published North Pennines Heritage Trust 12th June 1999, ISBN No. 0 9513535 78

To order, contact myself robert@forsythe.demon.co.uk or telephone 01661 834511. Price £3.50 plus postage per unit (£1.50 per single order, pay pal is accepted). Trade discount on application. I hold all remaining and limited stocks.

This volume provides two papers exploring Auden's largely neglected yet intense relationship with the limestone landscapes, the lead mines and the industrial railways of the Pennines. It was a relationship expressly focussed on Alston Moor and Rookhope.

Alan Myers writes Auden in the North, Robert Forsythe contributes Auden's Pennine Names. This features detailed name tables locating the place names Auden uses into his poems and other writings, with Ordnance Survey map references. For the first time in Britain, his 1954 itinerary 'England Six Unexpected Days' is published. A specially drawn map of Auden's Pennine Names, colour photography by Robert Forsythe of Auden locations today, archive photography from the Beamish Museum and even what are believed to be Auden's own pictures of mines taken in the 1920s are additional features of this 60 page A5 volume.

Auden Book Cover

An 'Auden on Alston Moor' study day is available on request to Robert Forsythe. A report of one appeared in the Wall Street Journal for 2nd July 1999 under the title 'Poems and Pits: The Underground Auden' written by Rhoda Koenig. Other results of this research include participating in a May 1999 Radio 4 half hour feature Reservoir of Darkness, curating the exhibition Auden's Pennine Landscapes which opened at Nenthead Mines on 10th August 1999, and teaching three WEA courses on the subject.

Our bibliography contains details of Alan Godfrey Map reprints for which we have provided introductions covering Auden's North Pennine mutterland (his word). Alston Moor, Allendale and North Tynedale are included.

Something that always fascinates me would be a re-creation of W. H. Auden's England; Six Unexpected Days itinerary originally published in American Vogue in 1954.

Rookhope is such a critical location for Auden in the Pennines that in the course of writing a much longer book called An A-Y of Auden's Pennine Landscapes a lengthy Rookhope entry has been written. This has been uploaded into my blog.

A glimpse of Blanchland, the Pressan Ambo of the plays and a place where Auden stayed. His description of Blanchland is printed in W. H. Auden: Pennine Poet as is Alan Myers' discussion of the village's role in Auden..

Blanchland Village


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