Tag Archives: William Butler Yeats

When in Ireland, get lost in the words of W.B. Yeats.

30 Jun

I’m taking an Irish Literature and Film course at the National University of Ireland in Galway this summer, and for the first 2 class periods, we have focused on the poetry of William Butler Yeats. I’ve read Yeats’ poetry before, but there is something really special about reading poetry by someone who wrote his poetry in the country that you’re currently studying in. Or, in another sense, reading poetry in the country where it can be best interpreted.

According to the notes I took in class, William Butler Yeats was a late romantic poet who absorbed the impact of Gaelic folklore as subject matter for his poetry. He was interested in old legends, and therefore he took old folklore and tried to make it relevent. He also felt that the modern world had become culturally impoverished, so he strived to renew the modern world by showing the capacity of the imagination. Yeats was impacted by fairy stories because they had deep connections for him to the human imagination.

One of my favorite poems that we read by Yeats was “Song of Wandering Aengus.” In this poem, Yeats uses the idea of the supernatural as a symbol for art. Also, the poem discusses what it means to be a poet, while also emphasizing that you must follow your vision, no matter where it leads you. Here is the poem (from http://wanderingminstrels.blogspot.ie):

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Ireland tomorrow!

18 Jun

Oh my gosh!!!! I leave for Ireland….TOMORROW. I woke up this morning with a huge grin on my face and started jumping around like a kid on Christmas morning because I realized that tomorrow is the big day!!!!

I’m spending today getting last-minute things together and going over and over my lists of necessities to hopefully not forget anything. However, the great thing is that most anything I forget in terms of little things can be bought over there, which is definitely a relief. Packing always seems to be super stressful, and even though packing for Ireland hasn’t been any less stressful, my excitement today is overshadowing the stress and nervousness, which is a definite plus.

I will be in Ireland for a total of 5 weeks. The first week will be spent traveling around the Irish countryside with my mom, i.e. a chance for both of us to get a huge gulp of Ireland at the same time. I’m excited that my mom will be coming along for a week to travel with me. That way I can get used to things and settled into the Irish culture before I begin taking courses in Galway for the following 4 weeks. Also, there’s no way I could not share my first Ireland experience with my mom. She loves to travel as much as I do, and it will be the first time in Ireland for the both of us. Ah, excitement! As I said previously, we’re going to be spending the majority of our time around the Irish countryside since it is rumored to be completely gorgeous and is the “typical Ireland” that is portrayed when most people think of Ireland. After a week of traveling with my mom, my mom will head back to the US, and I’ll stay in Galway, Ireland for 4 weeks of my study abroad program at NUIG. Even though I haven’t officially signed up for the two courses that I’ll take while in Galway, I’m hoping to take Irish Literature and Film and Gaelic Culture. How can I go to Ireland and not spend 4 weeks reading the great Irish writers like William Butler Yeats and James Joyce?! The truth of the matter is, I can’t. Therefore, it’s a pure necessity that I go to Ireland, read as many Irish writers that I can, and get course credit for it. Yep, purely magical! 🙂

So, Ireland tomorrow! Excitement! I’ll be writing one last post from the states tomorrow before flying out, but as of Wednesday, every post for the next 5 weeks will be coming to you all the way from Ireland, documenting my travels, including pictures galore, funny stories, and all the new experiences I have while living a dream of mine of living/studying in Ireland! So stay tuned!