Tag Archives: W.B. Yeats

“I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Happy Birthday, Rebecca West

It is hard to talk about her without referencing the generations of writers she inspired, all of whom admit their debt to her. Robert Kaplan is the most open about it (his Balkan Ghosts, which launched his career, has him … Continue reading

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“But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you.” – Happy Birthday, Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne, Irish revolutionary, feminist, radical, and, oh yeah, lifelong poetic muse of William Butler Yeats, was born on December 20 in 1865. After a couple of love affairs (none of whom were Yeats), and after having a couple of … Continue reading

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“I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals.” — poet/writer/hater Jonathan Swift

“[He is] the most vigorous hater we’ve ever had in our literature.” — Edgell Rickword We’re not supposed to “hate”. “Hate” calls to mind tiki torches. Or “hate crimes.” But there is a productive kind of hate. A galvanizing hate. … Continue reading

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“Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius.” — poet/engraver/visionary William Blake

“I mean, don’t you think it’s a little bit excessive?” “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. William Blake.” Pause. “William Blake?” “William Blake!” “William Blake???” “William Blake!!!” — Bull Durham William Blake was a poet virtually … Continue reading

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“I find that I cannot exist without poetry—without eternal poetry—” –John Keats

I was just beautifying him, don’t you know. A thing of beauty, don’t you know. Yeats says, or I mean, Keats says. – James Joyce, Ulysses Born in 1795 on this day, John Keats was orphaned at fifteen. Because his … Continue reading

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“Sunlight on a broken column.” It’s T.S. Eliot’s birthday.

Poets like William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane both said that they needed to forcibly divorce themselves from Eliot’s influence in order to be able to write. His language and influence had that strong a pull. Too much pull. His … Continue reading

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“Poets, the best of them, are a very chameleonic race.” — Percy Bysshe Shelley

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe Like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth! And, by the incantation of this verse, Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! Be through my lips to … Continue reading

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“I do not write for the public.” — poet Gerard Manley Hopkins

“I shall shortly have some sonnets to send you, five or more. Four of these came like inspirations unbidden and against my will. And in the life I lead now, which is one of a continually jaded and harassed mind, … Continue reading

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Rejoyce. It’s Bloomsday.

Some men send flowers to commemorate an anniversary. James Joyce wrote Ulysses. Overachiever. On June 15, 1904, young James Joyce sent a note to Nora Barnacle, who was a waitress at Finn’s Hotel. Barnacle (what an apt name) was a … Continue reading

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“That is no country for old men.”: Happy Birthday, William Butler Yeats

“I thought we might bring the halves together if we had a national literature that made Ireland beautiful in the memory, and yet had been freed of provincialism by an exacting criticism, a European pose.” — W.B. Yeats William Butler … Continue reading

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