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There is a part of me that will forever want to be walking under autumn leaves, carrying a briefcase containing the works of Shakespeare and Yeats and a portable chess set. I will pass an old tree under which once on a summer night I lay on the grass with a fragrant young woman and we quoted e.e. cummings back and forth.
My two great heroes are W. B. Yeats and Federico García Lorca.
I read as much poetry as time allows and circumstance dictates: No heartache can pass without a little Dorothy Parker, no thunderstorm without W. H. Auden, no sleepless night without W. B. Yeats.
J. Courtney Sullivan
But I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.
As a young man, Yeats spoke to me in a way I could understand. Shakespeare I couldn't understand, but Yeats I could. It was his subject matter and also I really admired the way he put his personal life on the line.
I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.
When I was starting to write, the great influence was T.S. Eliot and after that William Butler Yeats.
I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it's what Yeats called the fascination with what's difficult. I'm only trying to do what I can't do.
To you, W. B. Yeats, good praiser, wholesome dispraiser, heavy-handed judge, open-handed helper of us all, I offer a play of my plays for every night of the week, because you like them, and because you have taught me my trade.
The kind of poet who founds and reconstitutes values is somebody like Yeats or Whitman - these are public value-founders.
I didn't want to be like Yeats; I wanted to be Yeats.
On a summer night it can be lovely to sit around outside with friends after dinner and, yes, read poetry to each other. Keats and Yeats will never let you down, but it's differently exciting to read the work of poets who are still walking around out there.
I do think culture is an argument, and that was part of the way I was brought up. People at a social occasion in Ireland will start shouting and arguing. When the Yeats family lived in Bedford Park, they had to go round to the neighbours to say, 'You might think we are fighting, but this is the way we talk to each other.'
I carry Yeats with me wherever I go. He's my constant companion. I always can find some comfort in Yeats no matter what the situation is. Months and months and months go by and I know I need to switch to Shelley or somebody else, but right now Yeats is enough for me.
I think that with Bob Dylan around, we're living in an era where we have Whitman presenting new work, we have Dickens presenting new work, we have Yeats and Shakespeare presenting new work. It's that level.
Yeats was 18th-century oratory, almost.
I first came across 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' in college, with other anthologized poems by Yeats.
Blake has always been a favorite, the lyrics, not so much the prophetic books, but I suppose Yeats influenced me more as a young poet, and the American, Robert Frost.
I think that great poetry is the most interesting and complex use of the poet's language at that point in history, and so it's even more exciting when you read a poet like Yeats, almost 100 years old now, and you think that perhaps no one can really top that.
I think the poetry that came out of Belfast, and especially the Queen's University set, in the 1970s and '80s - you know, Paul Muldoon and Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and Ciaran Carson - that was probably the finest body of work since the Gaelic renaissance, up there with the work of Yeats and Synge and Lady Gregory.
Irish fathers still have certain responsibilities, and by the time my two daughters turned seven, they could swim, ride a bike, sing at least one part of a Woody Guthrie song, and recite all of W. B. Yeats's 'The Song of Wandering Aengus.'
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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