William Butler Yeats
Poet, playwright, and statesmen, William Butler Yeats, who worked tirelessly for over six decades,
is admired as one of the finest poets in any time period.
Central in the works of Yeats was his native Ireland. Irish folklore and mysticism, part of the Celtic heritage
which Yeats endorsed during and after British occupation, was prevalent throughout his poetry. Images of fairies, sidhes,
and other mythical heroes of Irish lore, for example, were common.
Often idiosyncratic in his philosophy (rumor has it that he was kicked out of a cult for being to fervent), Yeats,
nevertheless, wrote in traditional form and rhyme. The easy flow of his love poems, for instance, where charmingly
lyrical and easy to understand, unlike lesser poets.
In 1917, he married Georgie Hyde-Lee, though he was always in love with Maud Gonne, a leading figure in Irish politics.
Many of his poems are tributes to her and her cause.
Critics have praised Yeats for the concision and elaboration of his later work, as well as his plays, but his earlier work and its simplicity stand as evidence of Yeats' extensive
excellence as a poet. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1923, sixteen years before his death.