William Butler Yeats: It’s His Year (Yeats2015)

I fell in love with Yeats when I was a teenager and I’ve never fallen out.

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you …

OMG, such a romantic, that Yeats.

William Butler Yeats (age 46) by George Charles Beresford, 15 July 1911 © National Portrait Gallery, London; obtained under a Creative Commons license.

William Butler Yeats (age 46) by George Charles Beresford, 15 July 1911 © National Portrait Gallery, London; obtained under a Creative Commons license.

He was the first Irishman awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1923), and now, as we approach the 150th anniversary of his birth (13 June 1865), the Irish government has planned a year of artistic and cultural events to celebrate: Yeats 2015.

Everyone’s getting in on the act …

The Irish Times says,

A year-long celebration of the life and works of the poet WB Yeats gets underway this evening [1 January 2015] with a poetry reading in Sligo’s oldest bar. Senator Susan O’Keeffe will read from one of Yeats’ poems in Hargadon’s. The pub will host a reading of Yeats’ poems at lunchtime every day this year to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. Ms O’Keeffe is the chair of Yeats150 which has organised a year-long programme of events. …

Ms O’Keeffe said: “Yeats himself founded a poetry club called the Rhymers Club in a pub call the Cheshire Cheese Pub in London so it seems fitting to start this exciting year of celebration with poetry in the pub.

“Already there are a huge number of events planned. Our National Cultural Institutions, including the National Library, National Gallery and The Abbey Theatre are all programming Yeats themed exhibitions and events in 2015,” she said. …

The organisers behind Yeats 2015 expect to attract 85,000 extra visitors to Ireland, and hope it will generate renewed interest in Irish culture and literature.

Eighty-five thousand extra visitors? Oh, my. The Times goes on to say, “The highlight of the year will be Yeats Day on June 13th.”

I’m going to just miss it. (Bloomsday too.) I arrive in Dublin on the 17th. But that’s OK. I’ll still have Mr. Yeats in my heart.

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
(“Among School Children,” from The Tower, 1928)

 

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