W. H. Auden was born in York in 1907, and brought up in Birmingham. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber in 1930. He went to Spain during the civil war, to Iceland and later travelled to China. In 1939 he and Christopher Isherwood left for America, where Auden spent the next fifteen years lecturing, reviewing, writing poetry and opera librettos, and editing anthologies. In 1956 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He died in Vienna in 1973.Louis MacNeice was born in Belfast in 1907. His first book of poems, Blind Fireworks, appeared in 1929, and he subsequently worked as a translator, literary critic, playwright, autobiographer, BBC producer and feature writer. The Burning Perch, his last volume of poems, appeared shortly before his death in 1963.