Sir Stephen Spender was born in London and attended Oxford University, where he became friends with the poet W. H. Auden. Auden convinced Spender that poets should find their material in the everyday world and in seemingly unpoetic things. In his poetry, Spender creates tension between the need to engage this world and a desire to transcend it. After being disillusioned with politics around 1940, his poetry became increasingly introspective.
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"In the beginning of my Poetry Out Loud experience, I didn't expect to become so attached to my three competition poems. Five months later, they have become a part of me."