Friday 9 December 2016

Why did Maud Gonne hate Yeats’s 'Easter 1916' masterpiece? We’re about to find out

Published 02/06/2016 | 11:58

Ready for Yeats Day: The Lake Isle of Innisfree and the Square Moon. James Connolly
Ready for Yeats Day: The Lake Isle of Innisfree and the Square Moon. James Connolly

IT was a putdown like no other. When Maud Gonne told besotted poet WB Yeats "No, I don't like your poem,” it is fair to say that the poet probably reacted badly.

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He had just written ‘Easter, 1916’ and he wanted Ms. Gonne to like it. Her letter back to him was a crushing response.

Now, almost 100 years later, Maud Gonne’s great-grand daughter is to discuss the famous exchange in a public forum as part of this year’s Yeats Day event in Sligo next weekend.

Aisling Law will debate the famous letter with Yeats Scholar Adrian Frazier, Emeritus Professor at NUIG, in a talk at the Model arts centre on Saturday June 11.

‘Yeats Day’ each year marks the birthday of the Nobel prize-winning, Sligo-loving poet on June 13, 1865. Last year saw an entire year of 150th anniversary events.

A big draw this year is a special Nobel Dinner with ‘Fr Ted’ Sligo-born actress Pauline McLynn as guest of honour on Thursday, June 9 in the Radisson Hotel.

As part of the ‘Ireland 2016’ commemorations, there will also be a special ‘flash mob-style open air recital of ‘Easter, 1916’ in the centre of Sligo town on Saturday, June 11, at 3pm.

Other highlights of this year’s programme include a boat trip at dusk to the Lake Isle of Innisfree to see the ‘Square Moon’ – an event takes place on Yeats Day itself, June 13, at 8.30pm.

For the first time this year, there will be a special focus on Yeats’s two sisters, Lily and Lolly, who ran the Cuala Press, publishing more than 70 books including many of Yeats’s.

World. As part of the LilyLolly CraftFest, winners of a fine art print competition will receive prizes from Cáitriona Yeats, granddaughter of WB.

The story of how Abbey actors left the stage and joined the Rising will also be told in ‘Rebel, Rebel’ at the Hawk’s Well Theatre on June 13.

*For full details of the programmes and to buy tickets for the Nobel Dinner, click here

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