Monday 22 January 2018

WB@150: Genius, Poet, National Icon

The extraordinary life of our greatest poet, in two unmissable supplements

"There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”

So said the poet WB Yeats and it’s a guiding sentiment infused in two special Irish Independent supplements called ‘WB@150’.

Part one was published with last Saturday’s newspaper and part two follows this Saturday the 9th of May to mark the 150th anniversary of the great poet’s birth in 1865.

Most people will know at least a little about Yeats: poet, writer, politician, Nobel prize winner, hopeless romantic. ‘WB@150’ aims to give a fresh perspective on one of Ireland’s towering cultural figures.

With a range of contributions and special features, we take a closer look at Yeats’ life, his loves, works and his extraordinary personality. Readers will get to cast a warm eye over his richly lived life and magnificent achievements.  Contributors to ‘WB@150’ are varied: there are reflections from top academics and fans including broadcaster Dave Fanning and Tanaiste Joan Burton.

Yeats’ birth is not just being commemorated in Ireland - a range of official events are taking place across the world, under the guise of ‘Yeats2015'. One of the highlights is Yeats Day - June 13 - the actual date of his birth, which will form part of a three-day programme of events, many of which will take place in his spiritual home of Sligo.

Yeats led a remarkable life, playing a central role in Ireland’s literary, cultural and political rebirth, the terrible beauty of 1916 that he so vividly captured in his writings. His life spanned the most tumultuous, revolutionary period in our history and he was on personal terms with almost all of the principal figures involved in that era.

In ‘WB@150’ we hear from some of the world’s foremost Yeats experts as they assess his poems and other works. They include Professor Margaret Mills Harper, director of the International Yeats Summer School and Dr Lucy Collins, of the School of English, UCD.

Though he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Yeats was so much more than a writer.

In ‘WB@150’ we learn more about the people he mixed with, those he loved, his schooldays, his inspiring places, his political career and his role in co-founding the Abbey, Ireland’s national theatre. 

In Part Two, we assess his legacy, recall his Nobel prize win, and tell the incredible story of his death in France and his suitably dramatic burial in Sligo ten years later.

Yeats’ life and work continues in 2015 to be enjoyed, discovered and shared.

Don’t miss ‘WB@150’ Part Two in this Saturday’s Irish Independent.

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