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Letter from Thomas MacGreevy to George Yeats. 27 April 1926.


My dear George,

I hope Russell doesn't think it was a plot to get me into his old rag by hook or by crook. AE, George Russell, was the editor and founder of the highly influential broadsheet, The Irish Statesman, founded in 1919. Despite the personal animosity between the two men, The Irish Statesman published 'Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill' on 1 May. note If he does he'll blame you as much as me and I don't want that. Anyhow here is his cool letter and my sweet reply—the latter is as well as I remember it, I didn't make a copy. But I was certainly careful to call the thing a "poem" not "verses". He is a God forgiveme. I was glad to get a letterYeats's last letter was dated 24 April.note and will write properly later. Best wishes for all the family.


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My dear McGreevy,

I liked your verses Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill Written c 20 April. note which are original in conception. Why sign it "L. St. Senan".Saint Senan was the patron saint of North Kerry. MacGreevy used the pseudonym when publishing several of his early poems.note why not T McGreevy? I will do as you please but I think if they were signed they would help to add lustre to the name McGreevy and why St. Senan unless you intend to write in future under that pseudonym —If you do of course it is all right.

Yours sincerely


My dear AE,

I am glad you liked my poemMacGreevy drafted this response on 22 April.note. For the present I prefer to use the name St. Senan . If the poem has any lasting value the lustre will come to the name McGreevy in time. A nom de plume gives one more freedom I think. Jack Yeats was saying the other day that all art ought to be anonymous and in a commercial age ?? at least I incline to agree. St. Senan and his island have meant much to me all my life. He was a Christian when Christianity did not mean Jesuitry and his island which was only a couple of miles across the river from my home determined my earliest conception of Hy Breasil.The Irish name for Avalonnote Gathered up into an evening sun it was very exciting. Good wishes to you. I have thought about you often recently.

Yours sincerely

P.S. I have published over the name St. Senan before In January 1926 the Criterion published MacGreevy's 'Dysert' (republished in Poems as 'Homage to Jack B Yeats' ) under the pseudonym L. St. Senan.note