The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English

By Ian Hamilton | Go to book overview

Y

YAP, Arthur ( 1943- ), was born in Singapore. and educated locally, at Leeds University, and at the National University of Singapore, where he is a senior lecturer.

His poems are original, but can also be demanding: elliptical, dense, dry, sometimes droll. At their best, they shuttle between playfulness and sobriety and are alert to the rhythms and contours of the natural and the peopled landscape, seasoning insight with compassion. Yap stories can be sampled from Singapore Short Stories: Volume 1, ed. Robert Yeo ( Singapore, 1978). His paintings have been exhibited locally, in Adelaide. and in Bangkok His poetry collections (all published Singapore) are: Only Lines ( 1971); Commonplace ( 1977); Down the Line ( 1980); and Man snake apple and other poems ( 1986). For criticism of Yap's work see D. J. Enright , TLS ( 24 Nov. 1978); Anthony Burgess. Straits Times ( 9 Aug. 1983); Singapore Studies, ed. Basant K. Kapur ( Singapore, 1986); Critical Engagements, ed. Kirpal Singh ( Singapore, 1986).

[ RPa

YATES, Peter ( 1914- ), was born of British parents in India and educated at Sevenoaks School and London University. Before the Second World War he lived a wandering life in America, Sumatra, and Europe. After a brief period in the army, he was invalided out. His first book of poems, The Expanding, Mirror, appeared to some acclaim in 1942. It was followed by The Motionless Dancer in 1943 and Light and Dark in 1951. He wrote two verse dramas, The Assassin ( 1945) about John Wilkes Booth. the actor who shot Lincoln; and The Burning Mask ( 1948), about the actor Edmund Kean. The Assassin was produced at the Lyric theatre, Hammersmith--one of the few verse dramas of the period m achieve theattical success. During the 1950s he was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him incapacitated for many years. Nothing more by him appeared until a selection of old and new poems, Petal and Thorn, was published in 1983.

Unusually for the image-dominated period in which he wrote, Yates frequently structured his poems in terms of the interplay of abstractions that reflect his often tortured vision of a shattered world made unclean by the loss of unreflective innocence. He is best sampled in Petal and Thorn ( London, 1983). There is a brief memoir in John Lehmann: A Tribute, ed. A. T. Tolley ( Ottawa, 1987). [ ATT

YEATS, W(illiam) B(utler) ( 1865-1939), was born in Dublin, son of the painter John Butler Yeats and Susan Pollexfen. His family moved to London when he was 2, and back to Dublin when he was 16. His childhood holidays were spent in Co. Sligo, which came to share with Lady Gregory's Coole Park the central place in his poetry's imaginative geography. After it was decided that he would not go to Trinity College, Dublin (where his father's friend Edward Dowden was professor of English), he studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School of An from 1884 to 1886. His first published poems appeared in the Dublin University Review in 1885; his first volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisia and Other Poems ( 1889), already suggests the three major preoccupations of his writings: Ireland, spiritualism, and love--unsurprising concerns in the context of both English and Irish poetry of his time. The preponderance of one or other of

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