Black and white photograph of Irish poet and writer W. B. Yeats.

W.B. Yeats

(1865 - 1939)

The poet’s barrister-turned-painter father, John Butler Yeats, recalled reading some of his son’s early verses and remarking, “I have given a tongue to the sea cliffs.” William Butler Yeats published his first poem at the age of twenty in 1885, helped to found the Irish Literary Theatre in 1899, served in the senate of the new Irish Free State beginning in 1922, and one year later received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Because of poor health, he resigned from the senate in 1928, the same year he published “Sailing to Byzantium,” which begins, “That is no country for old men.” Yeats died in January 1939 while abroad.

All Writing

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, / And say my glory was I had such friends.

—W.B. Yeats, 1937


“Why is life a perpetual preparation for something that never happens?” W.B. Yeats asked in his journal, September 16, 1909.

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