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Auden was a poet of prodigious talent and output, living at a time of immense transition both in the world at large and in the poetic scene in particular. During the decades in which he lived, the ambitious, Modern poetry of Ezra Pound, Eliot, and Yeats would give way to a flood of contemporary poetic schools—from the Confessionalism of Robert Lowell to the formalism of Philip Larkin to the postmodernism of John Ashbery—all of which have competed for dominance in poetry ever since. Auden lived right at the center of this major sea-change in poetic development; his double-life as a British and American citizen only heightened his impact on the Anglophone world; and his influence, both as a beacon of poetry's traditional past and a harbinger of its radical future, is virtually unmatched by any other twentieth-century poet. He lived a double-life in another sense: His interests changed dramatically, as he turned from his early political orientation to a more inward focus as a result of a religious epiphany.
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