Distressing news from across the pond: the Yeats Society—a vibrant hub for literary and cultural events in the west of Ireland, founded by contemporaries of the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet (and most quoted writer in contemporary popular culture) W. B. Yeats in 1960—is fighting for its survival.
Every year for over six decades the Yeats Society has hosted the Yeats International Summer School, which brings writers, academics, and Yeats enthusiasts of all stripes to Sligo (the county where Connell and Marianne did all that sex in Normal People) to attend lectures, seminars, poetry readings, and general Yeatsian revels.
Unfortunately, as reported by the Bookseller earlier today, the society has been hit hard by the pandemic—which forced the closure of the center and the cancelation of the 2020 summer school—and now needs to raise €100,000 by September in order to stave off closure.
All is not lost, however. The society has launched a a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise the necessary funds and has so far received over €40,000 in donations.
Director Susan O’Keefe said this of the urgent appeal:
“The pandemic hit us hard and we lost all our revenues in 2020 and will do so again in 2021. We’ve been working here for 60 years to strengthen and protect the legacy of our national poet, William Butler Yeats. We know that people love his poetry, we know that people want to know more about him, and we want to help them to do that and we want to ensure that future generations can also enjoy his works. So we’re asking you to help us to raise money to keep Yeats Society Sligo open so that we can do this valuable work and to bring poetry home to people, both here in Sligo, in Ireland, and across the globe.”
If you’re an Irish poetry lover, and have a few dollars to spare, consider helping the society get back on its feet by making a donation. If, however, you are poor and have only your dreams, you can still help by simply spreading the good word.
Who knows, maybe that good word will reach the ears of the world’s most powerful Irish poetry lover, who can then get his Irish-American mega-donor mates on the case.