Auden's poem is still in many ways the last word on Yeats. Yeats is among those few poets whose cadences are so perfect, so just, that they become part of the language.
By those great honey-colored
Ramparts at your ear,
What shall I do for pretty girls
Now my old bawd is dead?
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.
Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in
Until the town lie beaten flat.
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Or make even arrant nonsense excruciatingly beautiful:
England may yet keep faith
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:15 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Yeats and Eliot - a photograph
Agree that Yeats is considered at least "one of the great poets of the time" but not that no one has ever suggested he was less than Eliot. Hughes in A Dancer to God certainly made that suggestion, and rather loud and clear at that. One prof I had suggested that Yeats was "an exceedingly good driver, but didn't seem to know where he was going." I'm sure them's fighting words in some company, but they're not mine, just offered for the record. None of this gets to Peter's request for discussion of how Yeats' "The Second Coming" stacks up, rather than what he isn't. Does anyone know if there is a Yeats listserv, a counterpart to this one? I admit that I never felt particularly drawn to Yeats, though some of his poems and insights have entered the common language. I still think "cast a cold eye on life, on death" is a thrilling poetic endorsement of impersonality.
On 12/11/2014 8:33 AM, Nancy Gish wrote:
I don't think anyone has ever questioned the standing of Yeats as one of
the great poets of the time or as in any way less than Eliot. There is
P 12/11/14 5:41 AM >>>
It's important to keep in mind, in spite these personality attitudes,
that Yeats was considered a giant of a poet in his own right. Cf.
Auden's In Memoriam W. B. Yeats: 'The day of his death was a dark, cold
day'....'Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry' &c. He was a major influence
and this list could do worse than give him some attention. Cf The Second
Coming. How does it stand up against Eliot & Pound?
James Loucks <[log in to unmask]> <mailto:[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks, Rick, for your post. In light of their "incompatibility" it's
interesting to learn that TSE gave the initial Yeats Memorial Lecture in
1940. It's also important to recollect that it was Pound who went about
steering WBY toward modernism and away from the "Celtic phantasmagoria"
of the 1890s, just a few years before he (Pound) went to work on the
young poet just down from Merton. -- All best, Jim
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014 7:49 PM, Rickard A. Parker wrote:
On Sat, 6 Dec 2014 23:53:23 -0500, James Loucks wrote:
This would have been in autumn 1932, when TSE sailed to the US to
deliver the Norton Lectures (1932-33); that same year Yeats visited the
US to be present at the opening of one of his plays in New York. It was
an uneasy meeting, over a formal dinner (I think it might have been at
Wellesley, but have to check on that). WBY sat next to TSE but was
engaged in conversation with a young woman on the side away from TSE. He
then turned to TSE and said that he and the lady had been discussing the
poetry of TSE, and asked what TSE thought about the subject. TSE turned
his place card to WBY to identify himself. -- best, -- Jim Loucks
I love this story Jim and I had to find more about it. I found a
secondary source for the WBY/TSE anedote in
T. S. Eliot: Poetry, Plays and Prose
By Sunil Kumar Sarker
Eliot and his contemporary W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) maintained lukewarm
relation between them. Richard Ellmann described this relation as "long,
languid incompatibility." Ellmann wrote: "Among their various mild
collisions none was more defined than the dinner at Wellesley College
when Yeats, seated next to Eliot but oblivious of him, conversed with
the guest on the other side until late in the meal. He then turned and
said, 'My friend here and I have been discussing the defects of T.S.
Eliot's poetry. What do you think of that poetry?' "Eliot held up his
place card to excuse himself from the jury" (Sutherland, 442). In spite
of this cold relationship between the two great poets, we must say that
Eliot was by any standard congenial, affable and meek.
P.S. To keep the story and picture together here is the link that C.R.