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JUNE 2ND: A WB YEATS WALK

Irish poet Niall McDevitt celebrate Yeats' June birthday by leading a Central London walk from Yeats’s bachelor pad in Euston to the only known pub he was willing to frequent, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street.

Arguably the single greatest lyric poet in the English language, and without a doubt the greatest Irish poet, Yeats was also a theatrical producer, magician, and Irish nationalist. He lived long and continually moved with the times: starting as a Pre-Raphaelite, then a Symbolist, then a Decadent, then a Modernist. A WB Yeats Walk will teach you about all these movements and much more. 

Though Yeats wrote designer Irish poetry in which there is little or no glimpse of London – apart from the pejorative ‘pavements grey’ – he was an avid Londoner who depended on the city for his intellectual, artistic and spiritual development. He was deeply enmeshed in the Western occult revival of the 1890s, once describing the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as his ‘church and university’.

He learned about literature, politics, art, and mysticism from a host of London characters, including Oscar Wilde, Helena Blavatsky, Aubrey Beardsley, and his poetry disciple Ezra Pound. He was especially inspired by the London writer William Blake, whose complete writings he spent four years editing from 1889-1893. Though Yeats wilfully censors London from his poetry, there are traces to be sifted, and plenty of stories from his autobiographical prose.

Meeting Woburn Walk, London WC1H at 2pm. (Nearest tube Euston or Euston Square). £10. Please click here to buy tickets. 

 Collage by Heathcote Ruthven

Collage by Heathcote Ruthven