Everybody knows that writers (poets, in particular) are the life and soul of any party. So, in honour of the year’s biggest party, I’ve compiled a list of the writers you would most want to spend the 31st of December drinking yourself blind and hoofing up rails with. Enjoy responsibly.
5. W.H. Auden
W.H. Auden spent over twenty years living what he called “the chemical life.” He’d start each day with a large dose of the brand-name amphetamine Benzedrine (the same drug we have to thank for most of the writing of the 30s through to the 50s) and end it with the beautiful barbiturate, Secobarbital.
Auden was known for writing near-the-knuckle poems that he read to groups of his friends at parties. Out of this came one of the most fantastically crass blowjob poems ever penned, “The Platonic Blow.”
Sitting in a living room, nodding on barbs, watching Auden recite “Prying the buttocks aside, I nosed my way in/ Down the shaggy slopes. I came to the puckered goal,” with his jaw swinging around the room seems to me the ideal way to welcome in a new year.
4. Carson Mccullers
Next on the guest list is Auden’s one time housemate and frustratingly-good-from-a-very-young-age writer, Carson Mccullers. Mccullers’ skill in writing was matched only by her ability to drink. For most of her life, she would start every morning with a beer to get her in the mood for writing. After that, for the majority of the day, she would sip a cocktail of her own invention, named ‘Sonnie Boy’— citrus tea topped up with cheap, dry sherry. On one occasion, the number of empty bottles produced from an evening of drinking was such that her cousin was ashamed to bring them out to the street the next morning.
3. Truman Copote
One of the most successful and extravagant writers of the sixties, Truman Copote knew how to have a good time. He spent his days sipping on screwdrivers (which he referred to as his orange drink) and making biting quips. In 1966, with the runaway success of In Cold Blood, Capote threw The Black and White Ball, an excessive party for his high-society friends, which single-handedly revived the masquerade ball. What more do you want?
2. Dorothy Parker
Having Dorothy Parker and Truman Capote together at the same party may work on paper, but would probably be terrible in reality. While both had the wit and effortless charm to easily work a room, it’s more likely that they would sit together, gradually making the other guests cry.
Parker was known to be able to put away cocktails with the best of them and was, presumably, a lot of fun at a party. She once famously said, “one more drink and I’ll be under the host.”
1. Dylan Thomas
Thomas’s drinking was the stuff of legend. On one occasion, he claims to have drank more than forty pints of beer in a single sitting. In the days leading up to his death, after an evening of drinking, Thomas woke-up at two AM and headed to a bar, he returned a few hours later claiming to have drank more than eighteen whiskeys.
Thomas wasn’t always the nicest person to the people closest to him, but by all accounts, he was a jolly drunk and would be a welcome addition to bringing in the new year.
Dan Melling is a poet from England. He is currently studying for an MFA in Virginia.