Friday, April 04, 2008

National Poetry Month: Poet of the Week

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland, and briefly studied art in his father’s footsteps. But at 21 he threw that over for poetry — and a richly complex life committed to it as well as to a study of eastern symbolism, to Irish drama (he helped found the Abbey Theatre in 1904), and to deep involvement in Irish politics. In 1899 he published The Wind Among the Reeds, which brought him “downstage center” as the figure in Irish literature comparable to Wordsworth’s stature in England. In the short poem below Yeats comments on poets who imitated him:

A Coat

I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.

Further Reading:
The Yeats Reader : a portable compendium of poetry, drama, and prose / edited by Richard J. Finneran, 1997 and The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats, 1978. Both are in our library’s collection.

Coming next week: Edith Sitwell

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson