I take a cassette out of a cupboard and go to the only machine I have left that can still play it. The technology feels old, for the cassette is a copy of a tape-recording made in 1968, of WH Auden reading his poems from a pulpit in Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge. Auden’s reputation at that time was by no means at its height, but the church was packed with 2,000 attentive listeners. People were turned away, and the doors, alarmingly, were locked against them. The priest introducing Auden was Hugh Montefiore, and it was he who made the excellent recording, astonished at the amount of gin Auden had drunk before the reading (it doesn’t show at all) and astonished that he recited all his poems from memory, something Auden liked to do.

more from The Guardian here.