William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century and this year marks the 150th anniversary of his birth in Dublin on 13 June 1865. More importantly, he is only one of eleven Irish Nobel prize winners – sadly, our list is a short one.
Although he belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish ascendancy class Yeats was staunch in affirming his Irish nationality and celebrated his cultural roots by featuring Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays.
- He was one of the leading contributors to the so-called Gaelic Literary Revival movement
- W.H. Auden claimed that Yeats had written “some of the most beautiful poetry” of modern times.
Yeats was an Irish nationalist at heart and in the earlier part of his life was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. As he got older, however, he hid much of his revolutionary spirit and distanced himself from the intense political landscape in the midst of the Easter Rising, even holding back his poetry inspired by the events until 1920.
- He was appointed Senator for the Irish Free State in 1922. Yeats’ international reputation as a poet was assured from the 1920s, and in 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Laureate in Literature.
- He died on 28 January, 1939.
The commemorative 68c stamp was designed by Detail. and is based on an iconic photograph of W.B. Yeats from The National Portrait Gallery, London, by photographer George C. Beresford.
- It is a famous image and familiar to poetry students worldwide
- The stamp design includes the poet’s name and dates
Date of Issue: June 11, 2015
Value & Quantity: 68c (136,000)
Stamp Size: 29.8mm x 40.6mm
Colour: Single colour with phosphor tagging
Paper: TR PVA Gum 102 gsm
Make-up: Sheetlets of 16
Perforations: 14.1 x 14.3
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Cartor Security Printing