You can toast (figuratively speaking) the 150th birthday of Irish poet W.B. Yeats on June 13 during the program “Here Still/Still Here” at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum. The 7 -9 p.m. event is free but advance reservations are filling up.
Participants include poets Natasha Trethewey and David Bottoms and scholars Ron Schuchard, Geraldine Higgins and W.B. Yeats Foundation director James Flannery, providing readings and commentary; Joseph Sobol and Kathy Cowan performing excerpts from their musical “In the Deep Heart’s Core”; and Atlanta Irish theater troupe Aris performing Yeats’ “The Cat and the Moon.” Consul General of Ireland in Atlanta Paul Gleeson will host.
The exhibit “The Waters and the Wild: Alen MacWeeney Photographs of Ireland” will be on view along with Yeats material from Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.
Yeats was a principal in the Irish Literary Revival and founder of the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland.
He remains an inspiring figure for Trethewey, the former U.S. Poet Laureate. Yeats, she said, has provided an example of how to “balance the aesthetic impulse with political and historical motivations.”
The cadenced style for which she is noted as a poet and reader was also inspired by Yeats, whose work her father loved, according to Flannery, who is organizing the June 13 program.
Trethewey, who will read and discuss Yeats’ “Easter 1916” in the program, intends to “chart a kind of literary ancestry from Yeats to my father on down to me – what we learn from the poets we admire.”
Flannery said the program title “Here Still/Still Here” comes from the late Joan O’Hara, a produced a number of Yeats plays.
"One afternoon at rehearsal, Joan pulled me aside to say that she had visited Sligo, the beloved childhood home of Yeats the previous weekend, and was taking a walk on the beach when she heard Yeats speaking to her," Flannery recounted.
"Startled, I asked Joan what he said to her.
"'Still here/here still,' was the answer.
"And so he is …"
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-554-4980.