Video: Wynton reading The Wild Old Wicked Man

On December 18, 2007, PBS taped Wynton at Rose Hall reading William Butler Yeats’ The Wild Old Wicked Man.

The Poetry Foundation, undertook this project in order to expose a diverse audience to a broad spectrum of poetic voices, build an appreciation and an audience for poetry, and increase the presence of poets and poetry within the two most ubiquitous media in American popular culture–the Web and TV. In addition to presentation on this Web site, the videos will appear on local public television stations at unexpected moments during their broadcast schedules.

Wynton Marsalis lists William Butler Yeats as his favorite poet. He says, “Like all the greatest artists, Yeats never got locked into one time. Instead, he addresses all ages and times. In a few words, with intense lyricism like Lester Young’s or Miles Davis’s, Yeats captures how one thing leads to another thing leads to another thing, and the relationships between them. Like, ‘An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.’ If you really let that into your mind, it’ll be a long time before you stop thinking about it.” W. B. Yeats was an Irish writer (1865-1939) who figured prominently in 20th century literature. In 1923 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature; although he is believed by many to have written his best work later. “The Wild Old Wicked Man” was written in 1938, the year before Yeats died.

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  1. Right.
    two poems were filmed but we still don’t know when the second one will be published.

    Luigi on Apr 27th, 2008 at 12:10pm

  2. Here too….Thank you, thank you, thank you!.

    careba on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 7:40pm

  3. A great reading! Weren’t two poems filmed, Luigi?
    Yeats’ poetry is rhythmic and lyrical. As a student he initially attended art school to become a painter… possibly following in his father’s footsteps! His father was a lawyer and portrait painter.

    It includes an interesting timeline and a master class video on Sailing to Byzantium, tracing Yeats’ painstaking revisions to his original manuscripts.

    Yeats made recordings of his own poetry between 1932 and 1937, interspersed with entertaining commentary. Yeats was insistent about reciting poetry within its rhythm, and with his voice he demonstrated precision and a musical flow…Yeats definitely had the makings of a Jazzman, maybe a drummer or pianist.

    Yeats’ recording of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” can currently be found on Youtube and other poetry sites.

    gloria on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 1:00pm