Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Yeats: An Irish icon

If you are even remotely into poetry, you will have heard of Yeats, if not read him. 

I chanced upon his writings when i was just discovering Wilde in an old forgotten library about a decade ago. I loved him instantly, although i must admit that Wilde still remains my favourite. 

As an Irish lad, the country he was born in made sure that no one forgot him. And so com this June, Ireland will start a year-long celebrations of cultural and artistic events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Irish Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats.

'Yeats2015' will present a local, national and international series of exhibitions, performances, educational events, festivals, concerts, readings, talks and screenings in celebration of the literary icon, the first time Ireland will honour any one individual in such a way.

The cultural events, centred on Sligo, Galway, Dublin, London, and in counties across Ireland, will be echoed in a diverse international programme.

Highlights include a worldwide celebration of the poet on Yeats Day (13 June), an exhibition of John Yeats paintings at the National Gallery, a music and poetry weekend at the National Concert Hall, an expanded Yeats Summer School in Sligo, theatre and dance performances at national arts festivals, and widespread literary and poetry events throughout the year.

The National Library Dublin will also host a series of events at its award-winning exhibition, the Life and Works of William Butler Yeats, as will the City Museum in Galway and The Model in Sligo.

International elements will include a series of events in London, including a poetry event at the British Library in London, exhibitions at Ireland’s embassy network and at international library locations facilitated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Yeats received the Nobel Prize for Literature in December 1923, the first Irishman to do so, and was cited by the Nobel Academy as having ’given expression to the spirit of a whole nation’.

The poet’s love of Ireland and of places that were of particular inspiration to him – Sligo, Galway and Dublin – will be integral to the Yeats2015 programme.

Several Yeats trails in Ireland take in key sites and experiences related to the poet, including one that runs from the Dublin Writers Museum to sites in Galway and Sligo.

His graveside, in a churchyard in the village of Drumcliff in County Sligo, still forms a pilgrimage for thousands of poetry aficionados and culture seekers as part of a tour through ‘Yeats Country’.

No visit to the area would be complete without a trip on the Rose of Innisfree tour boat for a sail around the Isle of Innisfree, so inspirational to one of Yeats’ – and Ireland’s – most popular poems.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

- W.B. Yeats

No comments: