Balázs Zsuzsanna – The Second Coming of W. B. Yeats in 2015

8. SligoThe year 2015 has brought the winds of change in the reception of Yeats not only in Ireland but also in Europe and in the entire contemporary world. Yeats has been reborn in the occasion of his 150th birthday in 2015, and his second coming is manifested in the fine arts, musical productions, poetry and theatre.

First, Yeats’s early summers spent in Sligo (which Yeats called the Land of Heart’s Desire) have been enlivened by three artists whose paintings will be displayed in the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo, from 5th-28th March, 2015. Also, there will be another exhibition inspired by the poetry of W. B. Yeats by the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club.


Yeats’s enchanting and visionary poetry will be given homage at the Coole Music Orchestra Festival, and this year the finale music has been written by Katharina Baker and it elaborates on two Yeats-poems, “To a Squirrel at Kyle-na-no” and “The Song of Wandering Aengus”. Moreover, The Yeats Project re-elaborates Yeats’s poems, blending them with elements of jazz, improvisation and classical music, thus popularizing and modernizing his words.

His poetry will be celebrated by means of several poetry reading events as well. During the “Yeats at One” project, Hargadons pub invites everyone to read a Yeats poem of their choice to honour his birthday, while the “Yeats Among Schoolchildren” programme will give the opportunity to 12,000 national schools across Ireland to create a visual interpretation of a wide range of his poems. Furthermore, Yeats’s poems will also be displayed in London Tube trains for almost a year, and last but not least, the “Your Yeats” programme invites everyone in the world to record their own reading of a Yeats poem—a programme that proves to be highly successful.

Apart from his poetry, Yeats’s whole life has been staged with “The Second Coming” performance which is a fusion of traditional Irish music and dance with aerial circus, theatre, narrative and film. The organizers emphasize that “it centres on the concept of Yeats’s own ‘second coming’ as he returns to contemporary Ireland with a message of renewal for today.”

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Even though there have always been Yeats Festivals, summer schools and other events to celebrate Yeats, 2015 seems to give rise to another era in the reception of Yeats in the world by means of promoting his oeuvre on the Internet. You can follow all these events on Facebook, YouTube, the Yeats2015 official website, and on LinkedIn and Twitter as well. Thus, Yeats’s work can reach a wider audience and might raise the world’s interest in the extremely ritual, luring and visionary products of his mind’s eye.



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