May 27, 2008, 7:00 PM
Our Life in Poetry: William Butler Yeats
Participants: Michael Braziller & Eamon Grennan
In political terms, Yeats's relationship to Ireland was always shifting, variously inflected, often vexed. Politics in Ireland were, however, the inspiration for some of his greatest poetry. This course, part of the Our Life in Poetry series, will be led by Michael Braziller, the Publisher of Persea Books, an independent literary press he co-founded in 1975. Mr. Braziller and his guest, the Irish poet Eamon Grennan, will look closely at the early poems, "Red Hanrahan's Song about Ireland," "September, 1913," and "Easter, 1916," and the later "Meditations in Time of Civil War" and "The Municipal Gallery Revisited." These poems offer a rich variety of perspectives on Yeats's relationship with Ireland, in addition to demonstrating how his poetry kept pace with the shifts in his emotionally charged political experience. Yeats was a poet who wrote memorable lyric poetry on the old fashioned themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. But he never shied away from the major events of his day. A careful reading helps our understanding of how aesthetic, psychological, and political considerations all intersect and cross-pollinate in the imaginative activity that went into the creation of some of Yeats's greatest poems. In addition, Mr. Grennan will read several poems of his own from his new volume, Matter of Fact.
No prior registration or fee is required. To view the poems, please click on the link below. Please bring a printed copy to the class. Copies of the poems will not be provided at the event.
Yeats Poems (Word)
Eamon Grennan is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including Still Life with Wateraff (Winner of the 2002 Lenore Marshall Prize), The Quick of It, and Matter of Fact. His volume of translations, Leopardi: Selected Poems, won the PEN prize for poetry in translation, and Oxford recently published his translation (with Rachel Kitzinger) of Oedipus at Colonus. He is also the author of a collection of critical essays, Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the Twentieth Century. He is Emeritus Professor of English at Vassar College, and currently teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and New York University.
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