Auden as Dalgleish

I have just learned from this interview with P. D. James that her first editor at Faber, Charles Monteith, wanted to get W. H. Auden to become Adam Dalgleish the poet — that is, write some poems that could have been placed in the novels as examples of the policeman-poet’s verse. I have no doubt that Auden would have done this had the opportunity arisen. Auden loved detective stories (he wrote one of the seminal essays on the genre) and loved writing poems on commission. He was always insistent that a poet who had mastered his or her craft should be able to write well for any occasion. I bet he would have enjoyed the challenge of trying to work out what kind of poet Dalgleish needed to be.