Orna Ross
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Her Secret Rose: My next novel

The Irish Nobel-Laureate poet Willie Yeats was 23 years old in 1889, when Maud Gonne came calling to his house and, as he later put it, “the troubling of his life” began. Six feet tall, elegantly beautiful and passionately political, this British heiress turned Irish revolutionary was the muse Wille had been seeking. He would spread his dreams under her feet, as they set about creating a new Ireland, through his poetry and her politics, and their shared interest in the occult. Yeats forged a poetic career from his esoteric love for Gonne and his admiration for her proud “pilgrim…

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: Excerpts

Susan Pollexfen Yeats: In Search of WB Yeats's Mother

The more I circle the life and work of WB Yeats, the more I’m drawn to wondering about his mother, Susan Yeats, nee Pollexfen. In trying to understand her influence, at first I felt hampered by how little we know about her. As I read through the letters and biographies about the glittering people who surrounded her, I got a stronger and stronger sense of her.  And came to realise that she was the poet’s great unnamed tragedy. Susan Pollexfen hailed from Sligo, in the West of Ireland, of solid middle-class, merchant Protestant stock. After a conventional upbringing, she enjoyed a brief and —…

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Exciting Yeats Project Planned For #Yeats2015: Her Secret Rose

I’ve been working for some years on a trilogy about the Irish poet WB Yeats — and I’ll be picking it back up shortly to finish off, (just as soon as I publish How To Create Anything and Go Creative!) I’m planning a very special edition (500 copies) of the first novel in this trilogy, Her Secret Rose, in facsimile copy of Yeats’s The Secret Rose (1897), for sale by subscription only (just as he sold his!) i.e. printed on laid paper, with pictorial boards stamped in gilt, spine lettered in gilt and the decorative dark blue cloth designed by Yeats’s…

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: Excerpts

Yeats Anniversary Celebrations 2015

Yeats activity is hotting up in Ireland, as June 13th 2015 will be the 150th anniversary of his birth. Yesterday was the third annual Yeats Day in Sligo and Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht used the occasion to launch “Yeats 2015”, a year-long national and international celebration. I’ll be publishing Her Secret Rose, the first of my books in ebook form soon. The publication is a little delayed because there is a small press in Ireland that might be interested in putting the print books into bookstores — which would save me a whole lot…

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: Excerpts

Self-Publishing History: WB Yeats Goes Crowdfunding

Late in 1888, young Willie Yeats finished his first major book, The Wanderings of Oisin (a Gaelic name, pronounced “Usheen”), at the age of 22. The challenge then, as now, was to get it published and into the hands of readers. He had a publisher in mind but, in order to be able to approach him, the convention of the time was that the author needed to guarantee the sale of a certain number of “subscriptions” first. He had to bring in contacts who’d declare their commitment to purchasing a number of copies. Friends and family stumped up but most…

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: Excerpts

The Yeats-Gonne Trilogy Covers Are Through

The wonderful Jane Dixon-Smith has just delivered the covers for the Yeats-Gonne trilogy, Between The Words, and yes, I’m a tad excited!  Jane’s done a wonderful job as always. These novels have been a long time in the writing. WB Yeats was 23-years-old when Maud Gonne came calling and what he called ‘the troubling of his life’ began. Yeats went on to forge a poetic career out of his unrequited love for Gonne, writing long and often about how he wanted to marry her. To this day Wikipedia accepts him at his word but the emotional truth of this fascinating…

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Countdown To Christmas: WB Yeats' The Magi

The “god-shaped question” is the subject of W.B. Yeats’ poem about The Magi, the three men variously called kings or wise men who came to Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’s birth to pay homage to a new saviour. For Yeats, they are trapped forever in that posture of searching for that which they can revere. He pictures them “in their stiff, painted clothes… pale [and] unsatisfied…their eyes still fixed,” caught in an eternal seeking that will never find what it is looking for. In this short poem, he projects onto the wise men his own inability to find consolation…

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: Excerpts

Yeats' Ireland: Where To Visit

WB Yeats had a connection with many places across the country of Ireland, particularly the counties of Galway, Mayo and Dublin. If you’re hoping to go on a trip to visit some of the locations that are linked to his life, click the link to this Google Map for some ideas. 1) The National Library of Ireland houses an extensive collection of WB Yeats’ work. You can also view it online here. 2) Yeats immortalised the Lake Isle of Innisfree in his poetry. 3) The Yeats Society‘s headquarters are in the Yeats Memorial Building in Sligo. 4) Dublin Writers’ Museum also includes…

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: Excerpts

What I Think Of WB Yeats: Guest Post By Marése O'Sullivan

I’ve always been intrigued by WB Yeats. As an English Literature graduate who specialised in Creative Writing, I suppose it’s only natural that his use of language inspired me. The evolution of his early poetry to late poetry, along with his distinctly visual plays, really made me consider the kind of person he must have been and, particularly, what led to his reckless evocation of love. Learning about his relationships with Maud Gonne and Iseult Gonne gave me a deeper understanding of the man and his writing. I became interested in these fiery women who dominated his life. I’ve researched…

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: Excerpts

Author interview about Yeats, Maud Gonne and Iseult Gonne

On Saturday, I did an interview with Marese O’Sullivan, a young Irish student here in London who is fascinated by the Gonnes’ relationship with WB Yeats and wanted to know more about my motivation for writing the trilogy. Marese had a lot of questions, so we’re breaking the interview into three parts (so fitting for a trilogy!). In this one we discuss what drew me to writing books about these people and which of the three I like to write about most. And Marese describes WB Yeats and Maud Gonne as the iconic “non-couple” of the 20th century and asks…

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