Pandemic Inspired Poet/Potter Poetry – Poetry News Roundup May 28th

Today in our news round-up we look at the poet who was inspired by a pandemic, and the poetry connection to Harry Potter.

The Poet and the Pandemic

The Second Coming by WB Yeats was written at a significant time for Europe in the 20th century. It was a time of upheaval and uncertainty. World War One had just finished and the struggle for Independence for Ireland was ongoing. Yeats captured everything in a poem that has truly stood the test of time. Written in 1919, the world was in the middle of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919; the only real precedent we have for the current pandemic.

The poem isn’t about the Spanish flu despite the tragic toll it took on the world, when more lives in Europe were taken than during the four years of the war. And the things that people went through do not seem to have had an impact on creativity – in fact, The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot and Ulysses By James Joyce were written during the period.

Yeats managed to avoid getting flu but two of his family struggled with it, his father was one of them, his heavily pregnant wife was the other. At times Yeats thought at he was about to lose her, but she pulled through and gave birth to their daughter 2 months later.

The poetry that was written by Yeats at the time is being more closely examined, with many people believing that his words were heavily influenced by the pandemic that was raging around him in the same way as so much of the poetry that has been written in the last few months has been heavily influenced by these strange times that we currently find ourselves in.

Harry Potter and the Poetry Connection

J.K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books has recently hit the headlines as she announced that the is currently writing a story, not related to Potter.  The story is called “The Ickabog” and the first two chapters are available now on a website that is dedicated to the story. Rowling will be publishing more chapters over the next couple of weeks, and the book will be published in November.

Fans were delighted with the news, and took the opportunity of the announcement that was made on Social Media to ask Rowling some questions related to Harry Potter – it would seem that fans still have a lot of unanswered questions.

One of the big questions that people like to ask is regarding the names of the characters in the book and how the author chose them.

Rowling was happy to talk about the names and confirmed the origin of the unusual first name of Professor Snape. She wasn’t sure herself where the name had come from until she was walking past a street in Clapham one day and realised that during her previous job she had in fact walked past the sign every day and it must have stuck in her memory.

Poetry fans would have been delighted to find out that the inspiration for the name of Minerva McGonagall was taken from a tombstone in the Greyfriars Kirk Church, Edinburgh. Professor McGonagall is named for the English poet William McGonagall who died in 1902.


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