The latest in the ongoing series of introductions from the Poet to Poet series in the Guardian Review sees Seamus Heaney offering his thoughts on WB Yeats, which, together with his earlier introduction to Wordsworth, ties in nicely with his 1980 essay Makings of a Music: Reflections on the Poetry of Wordsworth and Yeats. As a bonus the Guardian also prints The Wild Swans at Coole – Update The Pastor of Muppets also has some thoughts on YeatsA short extract from the article–
WB Yeats managed to create a heroic role for the poet in the modern world, so much so that TS Eliot’s evocation of “the shade of some dead master” in “Little Gidding” (1943) is commonly taken to be a tribute to the recently dead Irishman. And the canonisation continues. Nowadays, whether he is thought of as a national bard or a world poet, Yeats figures in the mind as a translated force, an energy released and a destiny fulfilled.
Still, as a poet with a strong histrionic streak and a readiness to identify himself with variously anti-establishment and anti-populist causes over a long lifetime, Yeats was never without his detractors. Yet from the beginning, those most intent upon debunking the man or demythologising the poet could never deny that his commitments were as selfless as they were ardent.