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William Butler Yeats And His Influence On The Society

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William Butler Yeats is seen all over the world as one of the greatest Irish poets of the twentieth century, his works excelled from other poets of his era since the way he structured the words onto his poems was absolutely astonishing. Even though he lived the majority of his life in London (more than half of his adult life) he did not forget his Irish roots, and kept Irish icons on his poems. Yeats was also very involved in politics even at the point on which he started writing about the situation in his country and all parts of Europe. William Butler Yeats impacted culture, society, and literature by influencing every poet writing in English today, creating a new language to understand modernity’s terror and beauty through this work, and reinventing the lyric poem. Fist of all Yeats was an Anglo-Irish Protestant born in Dublin, Ireland in 1865 and spent much of his adult life in London where his interest in paintings grew every time more. “Yeats perused his interest in art as a student at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin”. His passion for paintings came from his father John Butler Yeats, a recognized painter at the time who studied the arts and eventually learned to love it. Later Yeats discovered that he was not as interest in art and paintings as he thought but poetry and writing in general. As the Academy of American Poets states, Yeats came back to Dublin when he was fifteen year old to study painting but rapidly found that he favored writing poems. He realized he was really good at writing and enjoyed it a lot more than he did art. And was truly passionate about it, therefore he eventually became one of the best poets in the world. In addition Yeats poetry was not like any other poets since he talked about subjects of his country (Ireland) which was not very common for a poet. “Yeats, who had preferred more romantic settings and themes, soon took O’Leary’s advice, producing many poems based on Irish legends, Irish folklore, and Irish ballads and songs”. Even when he first moved to London he continued writing all types of things like novels and plays not just poetry which was definitely Yeats passion. He was used to write poetry that involved love and romance in general which was what people read the most, but when he started writing about his country everything changed and he got even better.

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According to the Poetry Foundation Yeats produced things like book reviews, usually on Irish topics. He got so inspired that he did not stop with poems, he wrote books, and even short stories which were more complex than the poems itself. Yeats changed the way poetry was written in today’s society especially in the English language. Furthermore Yeats was very much involved in Irish politics, and most of his poetry talked about how politics was affecting Europe and specially his country. “Defined himself from a nationalistic ideal, to the aspirations of developing and independent cultural identity through poetry”. William Butler Yeats grew up with beliefs, which he was supposed to follow but decided not to and used all of his hard work to make a difference and help develop one’s identity. This would lead to Yeats being part of the Irish government for many years. As Louis Bogan says, Yeats turned into a political figure in the new Irish Free State, filling in as a representative starting in 1922. This demonstrates that Yeats was determined to take his ideals of having an independent cultural identity through his poetry to the next level and became a political figure. Therefore, it is very clear that Yeats impacted many peoples life’s throughout his writing. Also modernity was a very big struggle for Yeats since he could not adapt to how quickly things were changing and eventually felt out of place. “Yeats hated democracy, science, and laissez-faire capitalism which were part of the modern world”. He had a very hard time integrating and trying to understand his surroundings since he was in disagreement with how society was progressing. This would ultimately lead to Yeats desire to overcome those forces which were very new to him and help him figure out who he was as a poet and help others as well. Wystan Hugh Auden, a fellow poet, indicates that Yeats accepted the modern necessity of having to make a lonely and deliberate ‘choice of the principles and presuppositions in terms of which made sense of his experience”. Yeats wasn’t very familiar with all of the new changes that were taking place at the time, he could only use what he already knew to try and understand them. This would eventually lead to one of the most beautiful poetry ever written in the modern times. Among all things Yeats has accomplished, the reinvention of the lyric poem is with certainty the one that influenced society at its most. As Eavan Boland, a professor at Stanford University, remarks “Yeats has had an enormous influence on the 20th Century lyric poem. He re-energised the possibilities of the stanza, especially in his later work. ”

William Butler Yeats basically changed the way the lyric poems was written and viewed, he is an example to anyone that reads and writes poetry. He made the simplest poems that people were used to read and converted to a well done serious poems in our language as we know them today. Yeats took what had for a long time been the coy idea of the incidental lyric – a lyric on somebody’s marriage or birth or royal celebration or passing – and changed it into the most genuine sort of sonnet in our language. He modernized the idea of a lyric poem which talked about personal feelings and made it into a persona which was more sentimental and made it into a huge success. Yeats reinvented the lyric poem as we know it today which impacted society in many different ways.

10 December 2020

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