W. B. Yeats and Ireland: Photographs, Music, and a Reading, with Dorien Staljanssens, James Cleveland, and Lloyd Schwartz
The Mother of God by William Butler Yeats
The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.
Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?
What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart’s blood stop
Or strikes a Sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?
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Michael Miller, Ireland
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In the spirit of the Twelve Days of Christmas as a time for quiet reflection and a turning inwards, we’d like to offer a gift of a recording of New York Arts‘s second performance event, held on June 1, 2013, at 7 pm, in connection with my own exhibition of photographs of Western Ireland at the Centerpoint Gallery in New York City: a reading/concert in which the acclaimed poet, Lloyd Schwartz, Senior Classical Music Editor of New York Arts, read poems by W. B. Yeats with interludes of traditional Irish music played by Dorien Staljanssens, flute, and James Cleveland, fiddle.
We chose poems spanning the poet’s career in which he reflected on Ireland, her landscape and sky, her mythology and history, on young Ireland and old, and the role of poetry and art in a changing, often violent, often treacherous and corrupt Irish society, but brilliant in its imagination and passionate in its love for the people.
Dr. Schwartz read:
1. Lapis Lazuli
2. The Lake Isle of Innisfree
3. The Song of the Wandering Aengus
4. Red Hanrahan’s Song about Ireland
5. These Are the Clouds
6. To a Child Dancing in the Wind
7. A Crazed Girl
8. Meditations in Time of Civil War, Part II: My House
9. Among Schoolchildren
10. Coole Park and Ballylee, 1931
11. Under Ben Bulben
12. Down by the Salley Gardens
Lloyd Schwartz is Frederick S. Troy Professor of English and teaches in the MFA Program at UMass Boston. His books of poems include These People (Wesleyan), Goodnight, Gracie (Chicago), and Cairo Traffic (Chicago). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, The New Republic, The Atlantic, and Ploughshares, and have been selected for The Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry, and Best of the Best American Poetry anthologies. He’s edited the Library of America’s Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters and Elizabeth Bishop’s Prose (FSG). His most recent book is Music In—and On—the Air (Arrowsmith). A regular contributor to NPR’s Fresh Air, he’s also Senior Classical Music Editor for New York Arts. In 1994, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and named one of Boston’s Literary Lights. While earning his Ph. D. Harvard University, Dr. Schwartz pursued extensive research in Yeats’ poetry, and it has remained a special passion of his ever since.
Dorien Staljanssens (flute) is a Belgian musician. She was born in a small town called Bornem, where as a young child she first started playing piano, and later picked up the guitar and flute. She spent many years playing everything from classical to pop and jazz, and absorbed folk melodies from the local scene. She also writes songs and performs regularly as “Hugo’s Cousin.
James Cleveland has been teaching at the Irish Arts Center since 1999. He started playing the fiddle as an adult and learned much of his repertoire from classes at the Center. He plays regularly in NYC sessions, is a member of the Irish Arts Center band and has played the fiddle in several stage plays. He is also a prominent in the sessions at Dempsey’s Pub in New York City and was featured in the documentary, ‘Beautiful People,’ directed by Elzbieta Szoka and produced by Sam Adelman.
Michael Miller, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of New York Arts and the Berkshire Review for the Arts, has been passionate about photography since childhood. His involvement deepened when, as a curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art, he had the task of installing drawings together with photographs in the museum’s 19th and 20th century galleries. As a result, he began to make large-format black and white views of Cleveland and the surrounding countryside. He has studied with Morley Baer, John Sexton, and Robert Dawson. His work has been exhibited in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and New England and prints sold to numerous private collectors in Europe and the United States. He has also written about photography in New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, as well as the introduction to Leonard Freed: The Italians (Quantuck Lane Press, 2011).
I wish to thank Elzbieta Szoka and Sam Adelman of Paradox Smoke Productions and Dempsey’s Pub for their invaluable assistance in organizing this event. Don’t miss the excellent film Beautiful People, about the Irish Seisiuns at Dempsey’s.