Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (2023)

By JESSICA JANE O'HARA on February 21, 2011 9:59 PM | 16 Comments | 0 TrackBacks

Yeats is an evocative poet, to be sure. I remember there were times when I became obsessed with his imagery. Indeed, once, I overdosed a bit on the films of Werner Herzhog and Yeat's poetry and dreamed that Yeats and I were adrift on a raft on the misty, mysterious Amazon, with hostile natives on the shore, ready to shoot poison darts into our necks. I'll never forget that dream....

So far, what is your favorite poem or favorite Yeatsian image or line(s)? How do you interpret it? Why do you suppose it speaks to you?

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Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (1) JESSAMINE R MERNIN | February 23, 2011 5:29 PM | Reply

-> Yeats was infamously known or his inability to learn Irish. Absolute genious in all academia, but foreign (or in this case NOT so foreign) language is his Achilles heal. Here's a little ditty about the Irish language, and nothing about Yeats...

One of our earliest readings by Douglas Hyde brought forth the argument of eliminating/ de-anglicizing Ireland by reinstituting the Irish Language. In order to create a National Irish identity Hyde argues that the Irish people must rid themselves of all things English, especially their language. This idea of the colonizer using language as a powerful tool to conquer and maintain control over a people is a post modern literary conundrum. Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996) is a modern representation of the Irish struggle to be distinctively Irish, though in the English language. The mother, Mag and her middle-aged daughter, Maureen have an argument about this issue of cultural identity and the practicality of language.
Maureen nags her mother about “what country is it you live in?... So why should you be speaking English in Ireland (8).” While Maureen’s logic is straightforward enough, it is Mag’s insight that settles their debate on the “crux of the matter.” Mag points out that if the Irish people begin speaking Irish then how will they get a job in England, for there is no work in their country. Maureen returns with an angry, “If it wasn’t for the English stealing our language and our land, and our God-knows-what, wouldn’t it be we wouldn’t to go over there begging for jobs and for handouts (8)?” She continues to suggest America as an alternative, where Mag poignantly recognizes the same problem. Here, McDonagh makes an interesting parallel between Ireland and America. Both (originally) colonies of England and both adopted the English language. Is there an empathetic connection between the Irish people and the American experience? And if so, then as Americans should we search for an independent cultural identity as Hyde suggests for Ireland? Perhaps, our ‘American-ness’ is not unique as we may want to believe, in fact it may be a direct derivative of the colonial power of England and unlike the Irish people we have no “native” language or culture to return to. Other than Native American heritage, all Americans are genetically immigrants, so how do we as ‘American’s’ assess our language, arts and culture in this context?

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (2) ERIK CHRISTOPHER AUKER | March 19, 2011 1:33 AM | Reply

(Video) 4. William Butler Yeats

My favorite Yeats poem we’ve covered in class is The Second Coming. The imagery is both powerful and direct while being altogether mysterious. Most people probably think of the second coming of Christ when they first see the title. However, due to the incredibly dark and sinister sounding language, I interpret it as being about the coming of the antichrist. The final lines, “Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,” clearly depict the birth of something which is going to be a torment to the world. Earlier in the poem, the lines “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full with passionate intensity,” makes me think of an apocalyptic time in which some people will be saved while others are forgotten. There is also a lot of talk about a so called “master and servant” relationship throughout the poem which makes it much more menacing to me. Finally, the phrase “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide loosed,” definitely adds a lot of tension to the poem. Everything appears chaotic and hopeless yet extremely well organized and planned out. I can think of no other poem I enjoy that is so dark in its nature.

I'm sure this may be the popular poem, but Yeats' 'The Second Coming' is one of my absolute favorite poems. I've always been interested in researching religions. I grew up Roman Catholic and I've just been drawn to the mythology behind it, especially the complex writings in the Bible. This poem reminds me of the complicated imagery and hidden meaning stories and verses in the bible. What's real, who got the story right, where did this all start?

The whole poem is rather apocalyptic, bringing a shiver up your spine as your read it. The middle east, the Fertile Crescent and River Nile is where a lot of civilization and mythology started. The sphinx brings up images of sheer mystery; why was it built and for what? A stone creature breaking free of its thousands of years of sleep to help bring about the end. It's not hard to imagine this mysterious figure possibly move its great yellow paws and shake the sandy grit from its thighs as its purpose is revealed to silently pad its way to the city where Jesus lived and worked. On a side note, I was in Egypt last year and I had a chance to see the Sphinx. It's terribly awe-inspiring and just being there does make you wonder its purpose and the temple at its feet which no Egyptologist has been able to discover what it was for.

I'm also hopelessly interested in creation and destruction mythos. The Revelations, although I personally believe its imagery is meant to relate to the Romans, particularly the "number of the beast" as Nero, anyone who reads it must admit at how powerful the story, and warning, is. Yeats inspires the same terror in his 'The Second Coming.' The discovery of the purpose of ancient stone monoliths, like the many beasts from the Revelations, to herald in this new age and the antichrist being born; reminding me of this passage: "Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle," it all ties together with christian views, the terror of the unknown, and the human fear of what comes at the end of it all.

And that hopelessly convoluted post sums up to: I like Yeats' 'The Second Coming' because it's terrifying and makes me think of the many apocalyptic stories in and out of the official Bible texts. Also that I guess I like dark stories and poems. And 'The Second Coming' would make a fantastic written story.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (4) BRENDAN J KENNEY | March 28, 2011 12:42 AM | Reply

My favorite Yeats’ poem that we have read up until this point of the semester is The Wild Swans at Coole. Just like the majority of his poems this one is very depressing. This poem focuses on the autumn of his life. He talks about how he used to come to this park, where the swans would gather, year after year. However, this specific visitation is his first time back since “The nineteenth autumn has come upon”.
Knowing the background of Yeats’ life we understand that he has lived through a lot, and because of events such as World War I, the Easter Rebellion, and the separation from Maud Gonne he has changed emotionally from the times he used to come here as a child. During the time frame from his childhood until now he has experienced a complete loss of innocence. While in his later adult years he is now fully aware that life can be extremely harsh. This is evident when he says “And now my heart is sore/All’s changed since…/The first time on this shore”.
His eyes then become transfixed upon the swans sitting in the lake. He is somewhat envious of these swans. Yeats has come to the realization that his life is approaching the end, and because of his aging he obviously looks and feels very different than he used to as a child. However, these swans to him look the exact same now as when he saw them in his youth. They seem timeless. “Their hearts have not grown old”. Other than being ageless, Yeats is also jealous about the fact that these animals are not affected by the harsh events of the outside world. “Unwearied still…/They paddle in the cold/Companionable streams or climb the air/…Passion or conquest, wander where they will”. No matter what life throws at them they never seem to let it affect them, and Yeats is extremely upset that he is not like the swans in this regard.
I enjoyed this poem the most because I do this when I go back to places I have not visited since I was younger. I do not think about how my life in coming to an end like Yeats does in this poem, but I do reflect on my life and thing about how things have changed so much in my short life. In this sense I can understand what Yeats is going through in this poem.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (5) CARA ANN MCSHANE | March 29, 2011 12:02 PM | Reply

(Video) Joyce, Yeats and Wilde

Of all of the Yeats poems we have read, my favorite is No Second Troy. This poem is about love and the misery that it has brought upon Yeats. The poem starts off with Yeats admitting his constant love for the woman. Although she has moved on from him, Yeats is still sensible enough to not hold her responsible for his difficulty in dealing with not having her anymore. He expresses, “Why should I blame her that she filled my days / With misery, or that she would of late / Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,” which shows that despite being heartbroken, he is reasonable.
He describes the woman as having “beauty like a tightened bow, a kind / That is not natural in an age like this / Being high and solitary and most stern?” This shows that Yeats is not going to deny that she is a proper and lovely lady just because he can no longer have her. It almost seems that he is looking up to her for being such a strong and brave woman, even if that means not being with him. He adores her, not only for her being a poised lady, but also for her firm disposition – two traits that rarely go hand-in-hand for a woman given the time.
When he inquires, “Why, what could she have down, being what she is?” Yeats seems to lose his sense of respect, and soon shows a turn. Where before he seemed to feel that his feelings were his own problem, he now seems to lay the fault on her inconsiderateness. He ends the poem stating, “Was there another Troy for her to burn?” It seems that the whole poem is about respecting her and still longing for her even though he did not want her to leave, but the last line shows a change of heart, almost as if he is past the stage of emotional damage and to the point where he derogatorily implies that she used him and moved on. I enjoyed this poem because it is so similar to many relationships in life. Just as Yeats had a quick change of heart at the end of the poem, I think that people always try to give the benefit of the doubt but most of the time end up changing their mind in the end, so the poem was very realistic and relatable.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (6) ERIK R HANSELMAN | April 2, 2011 5:10 PM | Reply

I enjoy Yeats’ poetry very much. He writes about such magnanimous themes as love, nature, time, and space that are uniquely defined by him. Yeats’ has the ability to write a poem so deep in metaphor and his own theory that one must research and delve into Yeats’ own mind before any comprehension may be possible. However, he is also able to write an equally great poem using simple language and references that are rich with meaning and imagery. It is one of these simpler poems that is my favorite, The Lake Isle of Innisfree. I enjoyed this poem so much because of the strong imagery that is able to convey several themes that I am able to connect with.
I read a lot of nonfiction nature books so it only seems appropriate that I am to connect with the The Lake Isle of Innisfree the most. Of course, when reading it I am quickly reminded of Thoreau’s work, Walden, in which Thoreau was actually able to live out Yeats’ fantasy. I sometimes find myself sharing the same desire as Yeats, only to realize that I do not have the same initiative that Thoreau exhibited. But like Yeats, I can still dream.
My favorite Line in particular of the poem has to be “I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree” (1). Yeats portrays it as though it is simple to abandon the real world, to leave everything behind in order to seek peace at last. He states, “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow” (5). In the Lake Isle of Innisfree, peace is no longer an abstract concept, its lives and exudes everywhere, among the “bee-loud glade” and the cricket’s constant singing. However, one’s desire to escape modern society may not be as simple as Yeats’ hope in the beginning. At the end of the poem we see Yeats “While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey” (11). He is still only dreaming, he has not yet made his wish a reality. It’s as though he is trapped between the fantasy, that he continually “Hears in the deep heart’s core” (12), and the reality of his life, that is directed by obligations and stress. Ultimately, it is up only up to Yeats’ himself to make his dream his new reality, as Thoreau once did, harping back to the poem’s very first line, ‘I WILL arise and go now”.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (7) MATTHEW JOHN CLARK | April 3, 2011 8:46 PM | Reply

My favorite Yeats poem is The Lake Isle of Innisfree. This poem relates to two other works I have read lately and am a huge fan of: Walden and Into the Wild. All three of these works deal with the idea of just removing yourself from society and living on your own off the land in a beautiful solitude. I am a giant nature buff and I love the great outdoors so this idea appeals strongly to me. So naturally when we read The Lake Isle of Innisfree I received those same kind of awesome feelings that Walden and Into the Wild instilled in me. When thinking about things, I always view myself settling down away from the hustle and bustle of society and cities in a beautiful location with nature scenes worthy of a desktop background surrounding me. But unfortunatly, like Yeats, I always realize that this is just a wish really. It doesn't stop me from day dreaming however, and still "I hear it in the deep heart's core."

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (8) SARAH K RAFACZ | April 4, 2011 12:00 AM | Reply

Yeats’ poetry contains fantastic imagery. After having this opportunity in this class to read so much of his poetry, I can easily say that I love his poetry. However, the poem that still sticks out to me the most is “The Stolen Child”. To me, this poem captures a lot about Ireland. It transports the reader to the wild landscape where the poem takes place. The imagery is so vivid it is completely clear where the action is taking place and what everything looks like.
In typical Yeatsian fashion, the poem spans two worlds: one of despair and sorrow, and one of unlimited possibilities. The story of the poem is simple but compelling. It offers an interesting thought on the world though, that there can be so much suffering and sorrow, but yet there is hope for something better to come and change it. The incorporation of mythological elements in this poem gives it depth and intrigue. I think this poem has had the most significant impact on me because I’m fascinated with the mythology. Not only that, but I’m also interested in the superstition the people have of the fairies. The poem does a wonderful job of capturing the nature of the fairies (or what the people of Ireland seem to believe them to be like). I like that he describes the abduction of the child from the fairies’ point of view to show how the enticing draw of the fairies to a young child.
Yeats uses vibrant descriptions in his poetry that make it all the more enjoyable to read. My favorite line from the poem is: “There we’ve hid our faery vats,/ Full of berries/ And the reddest of stolen cherries.” I can’t quite describe the exquisiteness of this line, but it is so vivid and that it completely evokes the mood of the poem.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (9) AMANDA LAUREN ELSER | April 5, 2011 2:11 AM | Reply

(Video) W.B Yeats' best poems

Yeats and Lady Gregory created the Abbey Theatre to show the more refined arts in Ireland and to prove to England and the rest of the world that they were not just a bunch of drunks. What I love most about Yeats' poetry is that he demonstrates that point without forfeiting his nationalist pride. After reading a wide range of Yeats' poetry, my favorite is still "Easter 1916." There is a melancholy undertone that tugs of the heart strings of all those reading -- Irish or not. There is something about the lost of a friend that everyone can relate to and even more the despair behind a battle lost. Even in poem about death and lost, Yeats' still managed to compare his signature "two worlds." In one world, each person lost has there own identity, personality and sacrifice. But in the second world the entire nature was subject to the terrible beauty of a country surging with nationalistic pride while grieving over the lost of so many. What I love about this poem is that Yeats could find an optimistic beauty even out of something so sad.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (10) TIMOTHY JOSHUA BOLLINGER | April 5, 2011 9:19 AM | Reply

My favorite Yeats poem is "Easter, 1916." I love the imagery of everyone banding together under one single cause. The fact that the narrator of this poem (Yeats) didn't even like some of the characters in the poem, but still respected them greatly for what they did for Ireland, speaks waves about the importance of this poem.
I interpret the last stanza to be somewhat inspiring. He's talking about how sacrificing for something for too long can make a person stubborn; making them desperately want to accomplish what they've been sacrificing for for so long. He continues one to reminding the reader that we must remember the names of people he rattled off toward the end. We know that they died because they dreamed to live with freedom, and what they did is respectable enough for us to remember. A terrible, yet necessary, beauty was born out of the dreams of these revolutionaries.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (11) KATHLEEN ANNE SHISSLER | April 5, 2011 9:43 AM | Reply

The one poem i really enjoyed a lot from Yeats was The Stolen Child. It was one of the first poems by Yeats that we read. I liked the poem at first because it involves faeries, which I find really cool. The fact that some people in Ireland believe that there are tiny people that live in a world underground and can travel to our world above ground through faery mounds is really interesting. After reading the poem a few times i began to like it even more because of what it was about. I thought it was really neat how throughout the entire poem he is saying the child should get away from this world to avoid the sadness in it. Then at the end he throws in that maybe that isn't all that great because in a world with no sadness there is also no comfort from friends, and which is worse? I just like that he questions the entire poem at the end when he brings up that there is no comfort in this other world with the faeries.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (12) CHELSEA DANIELLE WALKER | April 5, 2011 7:31 PM | Reply

My favorite Yeats poem is "The Stolen Child" because of its wild concert imagery and the multiple meanings of the poem. As a human we each have certain needs and wants that keep us satisfied in life, but with that being said we are humans that need constant change. Without this constant change we become dissatisfied and start to wonder what if. What if my life was different, or if I was someone else, or if I would have picked a different road to follow where/ who would I be? We often get stuck in a rut or time in life where we find ourselves searching for that “perfect” or better place, but is it? Yeats is very good at questioning the possibilities of existence. The Stolen Child depicts innocence and freedom on the island, but soon with the concrete imagery on the island of cool colors, it may not be all that perfect of free after all. My favorite line that shows this cold imagery is “full of berries and of the reddest stolen cherries.” The word “stolen” is a very strong word that depicts that something is not right. The animals in this poem also show great imagery and are very important in depicting the difference form the known and the unknown place. The poem ends with warm comforting colors and familiar objects of home and can be depicted in this line of the poem, “He’ll hear no more the lawing of the calves on the warm hillside or the kettle on the hob sing peace into his breast, or see the brown mice bob round and round the oatmeal- chest.” I think this is placed there to make the reader realize that what seems to be a better place may not be so great after all and that there is consequents with your actions.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (13) JULIA CHRISTINE KLUSEWITZ | April 5, 2011 9:46 PM | Reply

(Video) William Butler Yeats ( as a Victorian and Modern , Irish Laureate poet. )

My favorite Yeats poem is “Lake Isle of Innisfree.” I love the peaceful rhythm of the poem and the ABAB rhyme scheme. Just looking at the poem on the page, it looks simplistic, but the imagery and vocabulary work really well with the content to create a relaxed feeling. The ‘s’ sounds and the punctuation within the lines force the reader to slow down, and the images are specific enough to paint a picture for the reader but vague enough that the reader can make them their own. I also like the escapism in the poem. The search for the deep calm and contentment is something that can be felt by any reader. The first stanza sets up a kind of day dream in which the speaker declares his wishes for escape and a fresh start. The second stanza really deepens the feelings of peace that can be found at Innisfree and gives the reader a reason for the speaker’s desire to go there. Hearing these descriptions makes the reader understand why the speaker loves Innisfree so much and makes him wish he could go too. The repetition of “I will arise and go now…” begins the last stanza and sets up a lovely closing to the poem. By ending with the renewal of intentions, Yeats expresses a hopeful type of longing that any reader can relate to. But by saying that he can hear the water of the lake in his heart, the reader believes that even if the speaker never makes it to Innisfree, he’ll always have the place in his heart to comfort him and bring him peace. I guess I love this poem because I can definitely relate to wishing I was somewhere else, though my happy place is often much simpler like my bed or in front of my television.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (14) KATHLEEN ELIZABETH RITCHIE | April 5, 2011 11:03 PM | Reply

All of Yeats’ works are so evocative and beautiful it is rather difficult to pick a favorite. However, out of the ones we have read, I think I would have to say that “the Lake Isle of Innisfree” is my favorite. His vivid description, such as “a small cabin built there, of clay and wattles made,” creates such beautiful lines for an overall calming and peaceful effect. Right in the beginning, lines such as this make me think of hazy, lazy summer evenings spent on vacation. The entire poem is reminiscent of this for me, right down to the description of the sounds that crickets make. The description of the lake is beautiful, but what is even better is how this place obviously provides Yeats with such comfort and peace. The fact that he is feeling this makes the reader feel it as well, since you start to feel the same way as Yeats does. The cabin also is described as what one would imagine a typical Irish cottage to look like, along with the content “honey-bees” buzzing in a “glade.” All of these words and descriptions have a very nice ring to them as well as pleasant and positive connotations, luring the reader in even further into a sense of peace. Yeats makes this little spot in Ireland seem like the best spot in the world as he describes the beautiful weather, the calm goings-on, and the perfect harmony with nature. Peace is such a hard thing to come by, Yeats says, and he seems to have found it here. He even states that, “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.” Yeats is always yearning to get back to this spot, since it has made such a deep and meaningful impression on him, especially compared to the surroundings of his normal day-today life.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (15) STEPHANIE NICOLE DECKERT | April 8, 2011 4:27 PM | Reply

My favorite Yeats poem is actually a poem that we didn't cover in class, but that I found when I was going through our Yeats book. It's called "Never Give all the Heart," and I found it heartbreaking and lovely at the same time. Even though the poem is written from a man's perspective, everyone can relate to that feeling of wanting to give up on love after the end of a relationship or a romance. The speaker of the poem states that "love will hardly seem worth thinking of to passionate women, and then never dream that it fades out from kiss to kiss." I love that line. Even though I think he is being critical of women, I totally get his feeling that relationships fade out quickly, especially when dealing with passionate lovers. The speaker states, "He who made this knows all the cost, for he gave all his heart and lost." I love the warning tone of this poem, and how through his hurt, the speaker is trying to keep others from getting their heart broken as well. Another reason this poem stuck with me is simply because I have been in the position of wanting to love someone who didn't want to love me because they were too bitter to love again. This poem allowed me to see this side of being broken-hearted.

Favorite Yeats Poem - Modern Irish Literature (16) AMANDA WOODS | April 26, 2011 7:54 AM | Reply

Although I had heard of Yeats, I didn't think I had ever read anything by him until we read "the Second Coming". Those first lines, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," I have definitely read before. I'm not positive, but I think these lines were quoted at the beginning of Chinua Achebe's book 'Things Fall Apart', which I read in my English class senior year in high school.
While the lines fit the book to a 'T' as it is about chaos coming to an African tribe in the form of Catholic missionaries, they also fit life, or being a teenager at least, to a 'T' as well. Being a teenager is really hard. If you can get through those 10 years of your life unscathed, it's a miracle. Being a teenager opens your eyes to everything. We see, hear, smell, touch, and taste just as many new things as we did in our first 10 years, except that we interpret them in totally different ways. Everything begins to have very un-innocent meanings that we never would have thought of if we weren't teenagers. Yeats' words "Turning and turning in a widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer;" refer to how we learn about law and order, yet shirk it, of course, because we want to know what it feels like to be on our own. We stop listening to our parents, and we almost always stop going to church, so in all ways we are the falcon that is getting farther and farther away from the guidance of God and our parents. The words "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold, / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," is what we think is happening to the world. While anarchy is not taking over, we are only just becoming aware that there are people who WANT anarchy, and their numbers seem overwhelming to us, so we assume that the world is falling apart and that we should live it up now because we're not gonna be around to live it up in, say, 10 years (which isn't true, but it's very easy for teenagers to think it is). Being a teenager is then hard because you are discovering things you wished you didn't, learning rules you should never have had to learn, and trying to be treated like an adult before you have to be because you're afraid you won't be around long enough to become one. Yeats' poem says all these things in a mere four lines. Chinua Achebe used the lines to say a single word, "Chaos", and we use them to say three, "Being a teenager". Either way, these four simple lines make "The Second Coming" My favorite Yeats poem.

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(Video) W.B.Yeats- Modern Poet-Irish-Anti_Rationalist#The_Library


What is W. B. Yeats best poem? ›

Perhaps one of his most famous poems, 'The Stolen Child', tops our list of the best W.B. Yeats poems of all time. Its major theme is the loss of innocence as a child grows up. Written in 1886 when Yeats was just 21, 'The Stolen Child' is one of his works that is strongly rooted in Irish mythology.

How is Yeats poetry modern? ›

Yeats as a modern poet: Yeats, like T. S. Eliot, is a representative modern poet and presents the spirit of the age in his poetry. Like Eliot, Yeats also uses myth, symbolism, juxtaposition, colloquial language and literary allusions as a device to express the anxiety of modernity.

Who was Ireland's greatest modern poet? ›

Ireland's most treasured poet of modern times is without a doubt Seamus Heaney, who died in 2013 at the age of 74. Another Nobel Prize winner, the long list of accolades and awards he received throughout his life is seemingly endless.

Which of the following poem is written by W. B. Yeats? ›

'A Prayer For My Daughter' is considered as one of his most popular Modernist poetry works. Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lees in 1917; as the title suggests, he wrote this poem for his daughter Anne who was born in 1919 at the time of the Irish War of Independence.

Who is the most famous Irish poet? ›

Poet, playwright, and translator Seamus Heaney has been called “the most important Irish poet since Yeats” and is arguably one of the best-known poets in the world.

What made Yeats a modernist poet? ›

In conclusion, the modernism in Yeats' poetry is clear mainly through his use of simple language, metaphors having several interpretations, symbols, political references, allusions and juxtaposition of ideas. His themes, subjectivity and realism reveal his modernist style.

Why is Yeats modernist? ›

Yeats abandoned the conventional poetic diction of his early work in favour of unadorned language, verbal economy and more direct approach to his themes and subjects. His critical attitude made him one of the moderns.

What do you mean by modern poetry? ›

Modernist poetry refers to poetry written, mainly in Europe and North America, between 1890 and 1950 in the tradition of modernist literature, but the dates of the term depend upon a number of factors, including the nation of origin, the particular school in question, and the biases of the critic setting the dates.

What are the major symbols of Yeats poetry? ›

The major symbols: W. B. Yeats used a number of symbols in his poetry. among these symbols the major symbols are- the rose, the tower, the gyre, the wheel, the sword, the sea, the bird, the tree, the sun, the moon, the gold, the silver, the earth, the water, the air and the fire.

What is Seamus Heaney's most famous poem? ›

'Digging' from Seamus Heaney's 1966 debut, Death of a Naturalist, is perhaps his most famous poem. In common with other famous Seamus Heaney poems, as well as being critically acclaimed, 'Digging' is also very well-known from being widely studied in schools and universities around the world.

What is an Irish poem called? ›

Irish syllabic poetry, also known in its later form as Dán díreach (1200-1600), is the name given to complex syllabic poetry in the Irish language as written by monastic poets from the eighth century on, and later by professional poets in Ireland and Gaelic Scotland.

Who is known as Ireland's national poet? ›

William Butler Yeats, (born June 13, 1865, Sandymount, Dublin, Ireland—died January 28, 1939, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France), Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer, one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

What does the word Yeats mean? ›

a writer of poems (the term is usually reserved for writers of good poetry)

How does the poem A Prayer for My Daughter begin? ›

The poem begins by describing "storm" which is a "howling", and his newborn daughter, sleeping "half hid" in her cradle, and protected somewhat from the storm.

What are the four phases of the development of Yeats poetry? ›

It is possible to see four clearly distinct phases in Yeats's poetic career: (i) His early poetry or poetry of the Celtic Twilight period. (ii) The transition or the realistic middle phase, (iii) The later poetry and (iv) The last phase, usually equated with An Old Man's Frenzy.

What poetry is associated with Ireland? ›

The Fionn poems form one of the three key sagas of Celtic culture: The Ulster saga, Fionn mac Cumhaill saga, and those of the Arthurian legends. British Library Manuscript, Harley 913, is a group of poems written in Ireland in the early 14th century.

Did Yeats write in Irish? ›

As Yeats began concentrating his poetry on Irish subjects, he was compelled to accompany his family in moving to London at the end of 1886. There he wrote poems, plays, novels, and short stories—all with Irish characters and scenes. In addition, he produced book reviews, usually on Irish topics.

What is Irish Literature known for? ›

In addition to scriptural writing, the monks of Ireland recorded both poetry and mythological tales. There is a large surviving body of Irish mythological writing, including tales such as The Táin and Mad King Sweeny.

What was Yeats best known for? ›

William Butler Yeats, (born June 13, 1865, Sandymount, Dublin, Ireland—died January 28, 1939, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France), Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer, one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

What was Yeats first poem? ›

His first significant poem was "The Island of Statues", a fantasy work that took Edmund Spenser and Shelley for its poetic models. The piece was serialized in the Dublin University Review. Yeats wished to include it in his first collection, but it was deemed too long, and in fact, was never republished in his lifetime.

Is Yeats a good poet? ›

William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the 17th century.

Who wrote the poem A Refusal to Mourn the Death? ›

A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London is one of the four war poems Dylan Thomas wrote in 1945 and included in his volume of verse entitled Deaths and Entrances. The occasion for this elegy is the death of a little girl in one of the air-raids on London during the Second World War.


1. WB Yeats, Ireland and the Modern World - Professor Ronan McDonald
2. Poems of W.B.Yeats read by six Poet Laureates - Arena RTE Radio 1 - June 2015.
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