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Hello I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about the poet William Butler Yeats. Not only a successful poet he is a highly acclaimed playwright as well. In fact he first became famous in theater in Ireland before becoming even more recognized for his poetry. William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1895 to an established Irish painter. His family was part of the landowning class of Ireland and he grew up between County Sligo in Ireland and London.Publishing his first collection of verse in 1887 his early work was more in the theater, going so far as to even start a theater company with Lady Gregory in 1899. Lady Gregory was an equally potent figure exemplifying the passion towards Irish nationalism that was reflected in many works of the time, such as Yeats'. Another powerful influence on Yeats was his reportedly tumultuous relationship with a Irish activist and actress, Maud Gonne. She refused to marry him, and in fact they both ended up marrying other people, but her shadow seems to have stuck with him and his writing. Yeats, like some of his Irish contemporaries was fascinated with Irish mythology and legends. He incorporated them into his work as well as a passion he developed for mysticism and the occult.In fact his style developed in various ways as he maintained a commitment to traditional verse forms but began using more modern imagery. He was an Irish patriot, becoming very involved in politics to the point of becoming a senator in 1922. But all the while he simultaneously celebrated Irish nationality while deploring and attacking the bitter anger and xenophobia he saw that marked the movement.Remarkably Yeats was awarded the nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 for his work in theater, however he is fairly unique in having written what is considered his best work after receiving that accolade. At this point his poetry took center stage and his work contrasted themes of life and death, or the cycle of life, and the ideas of ceremony and grace contrasting with the noise and hustle of modern life. He is now remembered as one of the premier poets of the 20th century and rightly celebrated for his contributions to the craft. For more helpful and interesting information on poetry and literature, check us out at About.com.
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