PU’s Fund for Irish Studies Presents James Logenbach on W.B. Yeats

Poet James Longenbach. Photo Credit: Adam Fenster.

Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies (FIS) presents a lecture by James Logenbach on W.B. Yeats and his poem, “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” on Friday, January 28, the 83rd anniversary of Yeats’ death, at 4:30 p.m. via Zoom webinar.

Princeton University professor and Co-Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies Paul Muldoon will provide a welcome and introduction. The lecture is free and open to the public. Register online at https://arts.princeton.edu/events/fund-for-irish-studies-poet-james-longenbach/.

Logenbach will give an account of William Butler Yeats’ (1865-1939) poem, discussing how it assumed its shape, and, more importantly, the influence of that shape on subsequent long poems written throughout the 20th century. Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

“Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” was part of his first collection of poems published after the Nobel Prize: The Tower (1928). The Tower contains other long poems that contemplate the state of politics in Ireland during the Irish War of Independence, the mortality of man, and the temporariness of the world, such as “Sailing to Byzantium,” “Meditations in Time of Civil War,” and “The Tower.” Like many of the poems in the collection, “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” is divided into six parts of unequal length with differing meters and rhyme schemes in each part. Titled after and written about the first year of the Irish War of Independence, the poem grasps at the idealism and nostalgia for “law,” “habits,” and “public opinion” destroyed by war and violence.

Logenbach, a poet and literary critic who received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, is the Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester, where he teaches courses on modern and contemporary American poetry, British and American modernism, James Joyce, Shakespeare, and creative writing. His most recent poetry collections include Forever (W.W. Norton, 2021) and The Lyric Now (University of Chicago, 2020). Logenbach has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Mellon Fellow.

Information about the Fund for Irish Studies lecture series can be found at fis.princeton.edu. The series will continue virtually through February 11 and will hopefully resume in-person in March. The lecture will be live captioned. Viewers in need of other accommodations are invited to email lewiscenter@princeton.edu.