World Poets - W B Yeats

Lecture-performance-with-readings, with a halfway drinks interval and a usually lively Q&A discussion at the end

W B Yeats sang in the name of an ancient Ireland. His passionate study of mysticism and the supernatural fired his active involvement in a movement for the revival of Celtic identity, a poetic currency of Irish fairies, dreams, and the melancholy of decay. He cherished folk-tales, celebrating them in his verse as vitally as he did the history of his own times.

Born in Dublin in 1865, six hundred years after the birth of Dante, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, Yeats was one of the two greatest poets of the twentieth century writing in English. But where did Yeats’ voice, and his extraordinary lyrical gift, come from? Yeats Night will look for answers while reviving some of the poet’s greatest work.

Yeats goes on being loved. To this day, the manner of his guiding hand to us is gifted with the common touch, so that we are glad to have listened not only to the poet who tells us he will “arise and go now and go to Innisfree” but urges us to do so now, too: “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot”, he wrote, “but make it hot by striking”.

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