In 1939 Chester Kallman was an eighteen year-old blond Jewish kid from Brooklyn when he met W.H. Auden, the thirty-two year-old English, Anglican poet. Auden had thought he would be forever excluded from any semblance of marriage and his joy at finding himself in a romantic, erotic relationship even led him to wear a wedding ring. For a few months. Kallman's inability to stay still and his infidelities wounded Auden, and his naked grief can be seen in every line of his famous essay on Shakespeare's sonnets to a beautiful lad. As Adam Kirsch writes, "The younger man was considered Auden’s inferior in every way by most of his friends, and [Auden's] biographers continue to be puzzled by the attachment. (Richard Davenport-Hines, whose 1995 biography, Auden, is psychologically very acute, can find nothing nicer to say about Kallman than that 'it was impossible to be indifferent about' him.)" Despite public fights, affairs, and separations, they were still together in their way thirty-four years later at Auden's death at 66 in 1973. They collaborated on several opera libretti including The Rake's Progress (1951), Elegy for Young Lovers (1961), and Love's Labor's Lost (1973). Kallman published three volumes of poetry, Storm at Castelfranco (1956), Absent and Present (1963), and The Sense of Occasion (1971). Although he remained a New Yorker, they summered in Ischia, Italy from 1948 to 1957, and began spending winters in Athens circa 1963, by which time they had switched to summering in Kirchstetten, Austria. Kallman died in Greece in 1975, two weeks after turning 54. American Thekla Clark was a friend for twenty-four years and wrote a short, clear-eyed memoir about the couple, Wystan and Chester.