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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"Sure, I'd had to recite Paul Revere's Ride, or what have you, but I didn't know how expansive and powerful poetry actually was. I am a better thinker, a better listener, a better performer, a better entertainer, a better and wiser and more helpful human being because of POL."