June 13th of 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the birthday of W.B. Yeats. In honor of that occasion, the Yeats Foundation and the Irish Consulate of Atlanta collaborated to present a beautiful program of readings, commentaries and music before a distinguished audience at the Carlos Museum of Emory University. The contributors included former American Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, former Poet Laureate of Georgia David Bottoms, noted Yeats scholars Geraldine Higgins and Ron Schuchard, composer Joseph Sobol and members of Atlanta’s professional Irish theater company, Aris.
Produced under the direction of James W. Flannery, Director, W.B. Yeats Foundation, the program was hosted by Consul General Paul Gleeson and dedicated to the memory of Don Keough, a great friend of Ireland and lover of Yeats.
The program title, “Still Here/Here Still”, comes from the late actress Joan O’Hara who visited Sligo, the beloved childhood home of Yeats and was taking a walk on the beach when she heard Yeats speaking to her saying “Still Here/Here Still” and so he is.
The gifted and dedicated artists and scholars assembled for the occasion offered extraordinary tributes to Yeats. What they offered in homage demonstrates the abiding truth of T.S. Eliot’s observation that “[W.B.] Yeats is one of the few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them.” The power and passion with which they spoke also created a deeply moving and meaningful experience for everyone in attendance. Yeats himself would have been gratified.
View film highlights: Still Here/Here Still— W. B. Yeats 150th Birthday Celebration