On July 29th this year, the 53rd Annual Yeats’ International Summer School will commence with 11 days of workshops, lectures, readings, visits to Yeats’ country, with music and drama to carry the lucky few along. The Summer School is run by the Yeats Society Sligo, to promote the work of WB Yeats and to foster young talent.
The daily programme of events begins with a lecture in Hawk’s Well Theatre, on to lunch-hour events or outings and ending with a seminar in the Yeats’ Memorial Building.
The lectures which will be given during the Summer School include “Yeats and the loss of Coole” by the Director of the School, James Pethica, “Sligo Homecoming” by the Associate Director, Anne Margaret Daniel, “Yeats as Critic” by Edna Longley, “Yeats and the Act of Dying” by Kevin Barry, NUIG, as well such interesting titles as “The Wanderings of Yeats and Oisin”, “Swedenborg, Yeats, and Jacobite Freemasonry” and “Yeats’ shaping of The Tower and The Winding Stair”.
The lunch-hour events vary from visits to Sligo’s Masonic Temple, a walking tour of Sligo, a reading by Belinda McKeon, and outings to Knocknarea and Carrowmore.
Seminars run every evening, with content and discussion revolving around prescribed texts of Yeats, and can be viewed in full here. Evening events for this year’s school include a reading from Seamus Heaney, another from Harry Clifton, Ireland Chair of Poetry, Irish dancing, drama performances, and a coach trip to Glencar Waterfall, Lough Gill and Yeats’ Grave.
However, one of the highlights of the School is its writing courses. A drama workshop runs every afternoon throughout the week, and a poetry workshop (€100 extra) will run from 4th-5th August.
Why is there so much excitement around this? Because the aim of the Yeats Society is, over time, “to develop Yeats’ stature in Sligo in a similar manner to that afforded other literary giants, such as Shakespeare in Stratford-on-Avon and the Bronte Sisters in Yorkshire.” The Society work tirelessly to promote Yeats and his work, and especially in this tired economic climate, their reach to writers and groups across the world to visit a remote place in Ireland attests to the excellence of their School. They don’t neglect those at home, either — as part of the School, they are offering anyone to join in the guided tour of Sligo for free — more details here.
During the festival, July 29th – August 10th, this blog will have daily updates on what is happening during the School, thanks to the wonderful Anne Daniel.