THE Poet Laureate today expressed his regret that the 100th anniversary of the birth of York poet W H Auden was not being celebrated more widely in his home city.

Andrew Motion said: "I think it's a great pity York has decided not to celebrate Auden's centenary in a properly central and grateful way.

"Auden is one of the two or three greatest poets of the last century, and wrote brilliantly about the landscape of his childhood - among other things."

Fans of Auden will tonight toast the poet - but their celebrations would have been better with council support, according to a member of City of York Auden Society.

Hugo Hildyard, a member of the society, said he was looking forward to the centenary festivities at the birthplace of the poet, 54 Bootham, but said the council had not helped the society at all to celebrate the life of Auden.

Mr Hildyard said the authority had said it would give the society £1,000, but had not given them a penny.

He said: "I feel unsupported by the council.

"Now, to add insult to injury, they're starting a Literature Festival.

"I said the obvious thing to do would be to work together, but they said we can't do that.

"They said they'd offered for us to join in, but it would have been much more sensible for them to base it around us. We already had our plans and a structure there."

However, a City of York Council spokesperson said: "The council gave the Auden Society £4,000 in funding in 2005/06.

"The Auden Society has received more council funding than any other literature organisation in York.

"The council's arts and literature team has been very active in supporting and advising the Auden Society on other funding that may be available to it.

"However, it has declined to make any funding applications through the usual processes. The Auden Society was invited to take part in York's first ever literature festival, but no proposals were submitted."

The Lord Mayor will attend the centenary at Bootham, where a bust of the poet will be unveiled.

Audenites will also gather at Bootham School hall at 8pm, for An Evening With W H Auden, with the University of York holding an event on Saturday.