The Joseph Hassett Yeats Lecture: W.B. Yeats: Cold Stone and Water

To mark the birth of William Butler Yeats on 13 June 1865, Theo Dorgan will deliver this year’s Joseph Hassett Yeats lecture.

Tuesday 15 June, 7pm

From first to last, in a body of published work that spans from 1889 to 1939, the poems of Yeats are woven through with a recurring obsession — beautiful lofty things. Images from the natural world, less often of interiors or the built landscape, appear over and over again, but their chief use is to offer a frame or support to thought, much as a trellis supports a climbing rose.

Here and there, though, as a long repeat in the pattern, to borrow a phrase from Paula Meehan, we find poems of direct, clear speech and close observation. Most usually, these draughts of cold water give us a poet in direct confrontation with himself or others, in speech more plain than  usual, the comforts of ornament set aside. There is a consistent thread of such poems all through the work, set at considerable intervals, to be sure, but nevertheless having this in common: they show us the poet in a cold reckoning with the integrated self.

Book here for this virtual event on Zoom

Theo Dorgan is a poet, and also a non-fiction prose writer, novelist, editor, documentary screenwriter, essayist, librettist and translator

Joseph Hassett is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a PhD in Anglo Irish Literature from University College, Dublin. He practices law in Washington, and is the author of W.B. Yeats and the Muses, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, and The Ulysses Trials: Beauty and Truth Meet the Law, published 2016 by The Lilliput Press. Yeats Now: Echoing Into Life,  his most recent book was published in 2020 by The Lilliput Press.

We acknowledge Joseph Hassett's support for this event as part of the library's programme.

Online tours of the exhibition Yeats: the life and work of William Butler Yeats are ongoing, see our events section for upcoming dates.

NLI Reference: CLON55
NLI Reference: CLON55
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