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William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) lived for poetry by the age of 19. Born in Dublin, he would become arguably one of the best English-language poets of the 20th century.

As a child, Yeats lived between County Siglo, Ireland and London. He was a mediocre student until he discovered poetry and mysticism. At 20, he founded the Dublin Hermetic Society. By 25, he was president of the Irish National Theatre Society. He had already written several poems and plays on his own, and would soon be known as the leader of the Irish Literary Renaissance.

Yeats is best known for the dense combinations of symbolism, mysticism, history, philosophy and psychology in his poetry. One of his most famous works, "The Second Coming," broke away from romantic influences and developed the reputation Yeats needed to win the Nobel Prize for poetry in 1923. Even in old age, the poet completed volumes such as the controversial "Oxford Book of Modern Verse."




Link to the following sites for more about the life of William Butler Yeats:

  • William Butler Yeats
    This lengthy Atlantic Monthly piece, written by Louise Bogan before the great poet's death, catalogs the life, work and influences of Yeats.

  • A Collection of Poems
    This site offers the most complete online texts of Yeats' poems, which include everything from "The Wanderings of Oisin" to "Leda and the Swan" and "Last Poems." Also check out the links at the bottom. Or check out Yeats' Poetry and Prose on Google Book Search.

   --- Nicole E. Magistro

 
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