On April 1st this year, I’ll be celebrating my birthday with a gathering of the Irish community at the London Irish Centre to celebrate the 150 birth anniversary of WB Yeats. (Follow the news on Twitter: #yeats2015)
The event, which is being supported by The Irish Department of Diaspora Affairs and the London Irish Centre, will focus on the question of what it means to be Irish — especially when one lives away from Ireland, as did Yeats, a long-time Londoner.
More than any other writer, WB Yeats established the idea of Ireland as an internal, magical imaginative space, a refuge from the world and its cares: Come away, O human child! / To the waters and the wild / With a faery, hand in hand. / For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand…
The event, featuring music and readings of favourite Yeats’s poems, will celebrate that concept.
Confirmed readers and musicians, all of whose work has been inspired by Yeats’s poetry, include:
- Judith Chernaik, Founder of Poems on the Underground
- Jimmy Deenihan, Minister of Diaspora Affairs
- Aisling Fahy, Young Poet Laureate for London
- Daniel Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to Great Britain
- Shevaun Wilder, Director of the Irish Arts Club
The event is in aid of Creative Cricklewood & Friends of Cricklewood Library.
The first 100 attendees to sign up to the event will receive a Poems on The Underground poster and I’ll be giving all attendees an audiobook gift of my upcoming Selected Poems.
Afterwards, all performers will receive I Am Of Ireland: Celebrating The Poetry of WB Yeats, a multi-media book containing the poems, speeches and performances of the event.
I couldn’t be more excited about this event. If you’re in London I hope you’ll come along. If not, will be live-streamed to reach the worldwide audience of the Irish diaspora and Yeats fans. Stay tuned for more news.