‘When a Deeper Need Enters’

Politics in the Poetry of Yeats & Heaney

There are no political neutrals—not even among churchmen or poets. Two Irish poets help to illustrate my point: William Butler Yeats, who died in 1939, and Seamus Heaney, who died last year on August 30.

William Butler Yeats, every English major’s idea of an Irish poet, spent much of his life engaged (seldom successfully) in politics. But the sort of politics in which he was engaged...

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About the Author

Patrick J. Ryan, SJ, is the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University.