Biography of W.B. Yeats

W.B. Yeats

Poet and dramatist, William Butler Yeats, was born in Sandymount, County Dublin in 1865. His father was a well-known portrait painter and subsequently many of the Yeats’ children pursued careers in the arts. At the age of nineteen, William Butler Yeats enrolled in the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin where he was able to publish some of his poetry in the Dublin University Review. During his twenties the family moved to London, where Yeats met many other artists and writers, including George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. In 1889 he published his first volume of poetry The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems, which was swiftly followed by more publications of poetry and non-fiction, including several anthologies of Irish folk tales, one of the predominant themes of his work.

In 1894 Yeats became involved with the Irish Literary Theatre, later becoming its chief playwright, with many of his plays being performed there and at the Abbey Theatre, also known as the National Theatre of Ireland which opened in 1904. Yeats continued to publish throughout his life, and through the Cuala Press which he founded with his sisters in 1904, was also responsible for the publication of many other authors such as Ezra Pound. He married late in life, had two children, and was elected to the Irish senate in 1922. The following year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and continued to work on his poetry and the poetry anthology OxfordBook of Modern Verse 1892-1935. He died in 1939 at the age of seventy-three.