When you are old: Yeats at 150
13 November 2015
Cardiff University has joined celebrations across the UK marking the 150th anniversary of the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats at a Welsh commemorative event, When you are old: Yeats at 150.
Poet and Head of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Professor Damian Walford Davies, chaired the celebrations at the Redhouse, Merthyr Tydfil, presented by Literature Wales and the Welsh Government on 9 November.
Born on 13 June 1865, Yeats was the first Irishman to be honoured with the Nobel Prize in Literature (1923), and is acknowledged as one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature.
Events have been taking place across Ireland and internationally throughout 2015.
When you are old: Yeats at 150 featured a talk by the Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, Daniel Mulhall, followed by a discussion of Yeats’s responses to Irish political crises, his complex legacies (in Wales and Europe, as well as Ireland), and issues of commemoration.
Performances of new writing created by the Merthyr Young People’s Writing Squads, as well as local writing and arts clubs celebrate the work of Yeats and the health of modern-day poetry in Wales. Award-winning Merthyr poet Mike Jenkins led the writing workshops and poet and artist Francesca Kay led a letterpress workshop, activities organised in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil libraries and Head4Arts.
Lifelong admirer of Yeats, the Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain Daniel Mulhall said: “W.B. Yeats is one of Ireland’s literary giants and I am delighted to have this opportunity to share my appreciation of his work with an audience of literature enthusiasts in Wales.”
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: “I fell in love with Yeats’ poetry many years ago, and often found in his work parallels with Welsh poetry. It’s a great honour to host such a prestigious evening at the Redhouse, one of our most significant historic buildings.”