Selected Poems (Poetry)

ISBN: 0517206021
ISBN 13: 9780517206027
By: W.B. Yeats

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20th Century Classics Currently Reading Default Favorites Ireland Irish Literature Poetry To Read

Reader's Thoughts

Felix Purat

Overall, I would say that the poems Seamus Heaney chose to represent his tower-dwelling predecessor William Butler Yeats were very well chosen, though I don't know enough about Yeats' other poems to make a more sound judgment. Suffice to say that what was here was beautiful, including the Fiddler of Dooney, now one of my favourite poems of the sort Yeats wrote. Certainly an interesting way to introduce oneself to the world of Yeats, and well formatted as well as they are not typed in that scrunched typing style "classic" poetry often finds itself.

Joan

Couldn't decide how many stars to give this collection of poems. Some of them I really liked, and a few I didn't like at all. Most were good, so I gave it a 3.

Patrick

William Butler Yeats, the first Irishman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, is not only one of the greatest poets of the 20th century but one of the most widely read. The landscape, myths, legends, and folklore of his homeland lie at the heart of his poetic imagination, and the unique musicality of Ireland adds to the richness of his verse. But the themes of his poetry are universal and timeless: the conflict between life and death, love and hate, and the meaning of man’s existence in an imperfect world.This collection includes such favorites as “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” and “When You Are Old”, as well as two of his longer narrative works, “The Old Age of Queen Maeve” and “Baile and Aillinn”. It traces the poet’s artistry from his early days as a dreamy, late-romantic poet into one of the most individual and visionary voices of 20th-century verse.

Kathleen

I can't pretend I understand all the imagery and mythological references, but there are some poems like "I will arise and go to Innisfree" that I just can't get away from. Even what I don't understand is beautiful and touches a part of my soul.

Anthony D Buckley

It's the first time I have really looked at Yeats's poetry. Perhaps not surprisingly, I found the famous ones the most enjoyable. Some, of the other I found remarkably clumsy and poorly expressed. Perhaps this is why they didn't become famous. He sometimes takes to mentioning or even listing people's names and place names as though this were evocative or impressive. Part of my problem is that I am rather out of sympathy with the man and his period. An interesting exercise nevertheless. I liked Jeffares' introduction, which was clear and intelligent.

Kit Schooley

Haven't read Yeats for 40 years. Having been to Ireland, he knows how to writeof the tragedy that is Ireland. Dense, difficult and at times, rewarding.

Milica

the magic is lost in translation

Ken Hicks

I've been reading Yeats since college, which is over forty years now. I have returned to the poems many times and my wife and I visited Ireland and went to some of the places mentioned in his poems. I loved Yeats when I first read and studied him and my feelings have only increased over the years as I have revisited poems. Lately, I have memorized a pair of them. I prefer to stick to the poems and not inquire too much about a person's political leanings, but I can understand why others may think differently on that subject.

Anna

I bought this about five years ago for a project and have just now gotten around to reading it. I started it feeling very excited - Yeats is so lyrical and imaginative and so obviously enamored with nature and myths. His poetry is so beautiful. But I think as I continued through the book, I found it harder to understand a lot of his poems. Many of them seemed to go all over the place or refer to myths and gods I am unfamiliar with. It made reading the poetry more like a chore. All in all, the poems I loved, I REALLY loved. The poems I didn't so much care for were more because I failed to understand them, and I never like putting a whole lot of effort into understanding poetry.-Favourite Poems-"The Cloak, The Boat, and The Shoes""The Indian Upon God""Ephemera""The Rose of Peace""The Host of the Air""The Song of Wandering Aengus""To a Poet, Who Would Have Me Praise Certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mine""A Lyric from An Unpublished Play""To a Child Dancing in the Wind""Fallen Majesty"

Tracy

I read many of the poems years ago -- grad school, what else? -- but I still love to teach and read Yeats. I needed one of his early, embarassing poems that is mentioned in a book I was teaching. The poem I needed was one of his that inspired the Wikipedia entry that says his poetry became better as he aged, unlike many poets.That much is certain.I do drag this book out from time to time. Not that long ago, we read poems of his outloud during a dinner party. We all thought he meant different things by Sailing to Byzantium and Byzantium. Oh the poem and book? It was from The Wind Among the Reeds. It's mentions in An Evening of Long Goodbyes for the quote that I can't find this moment, but it's something like, The shape of ugly things is too awful to talk about (?)

Joyce

This collection of Yeats' poetry, stopping at the year 1914, omits some of his major works. The title should clarify the limitation of years since he really reached his peak as a poet after WWI

Matt

I think Yeats at his best is fantastic, as some individual poems are absolutely magnificent. There were occasional times in reading this collection where I had to stop, and read something again to make sure it was exactly as incredible as I had thought it was the first time. It always was. The problem was that poems like that are kind of few and far between. For every great poem there are three or four pages worth that just didn't speak to me at all. This isn't to say that they are totally without merit. Perhaps with further study I could come to see the genius of all the poems in this book, but as it stands, I didn't think most of it was great. When at his best, there are some incredible poems here. More often, the poetry is fine, but not extraordinary. Its inconsistent, to me.

Leslie

Beautiful poetry. The focus is largely on Irish history, but I think behind that is a genuine search for what is most important in life. Though I appreciated the beautiful language and what I thought the message was, I still felt like much of it went over my head.

Cns

A fantastic edition--the Faber 80th anniversary poetry books--but the poems are a bit complex for me, as I don't have a degree in Irish history. "The Second Coming" will always be my favorite thanks to Stephen King, but "The Wild Swans at Coole" is haunting in a different way--especially as I get older. It's worth stumbling through some Irish history to get to these treasures.

Bethan

I feel so guilty because I want to like Yeats but while there are one or two amazing poems, like 'Leda and the Swan' and 'An Irish Airman Forsees His Death', or one or two that are very interesting and strikingly expressed, like 'The Second Coming' or 'The Circus Animal's Desertion', overall, I find Yeats boring a lot of the time and a bit repugnant for his conservative nature, such as his nationalism. I found it hard to concentrate and understand a lot of his poems and I didn't really come away feeling like he'd deeply touched me and got to my heart (like Paul Verlaine) or said something amazing (like Baudelaire). Maybe I just expected more of this poet that is so routinely hailed as one of the greatest, in this English-language country, and I need to go back and spend more time with his poetry. Well, I see it; I just don't feel or think it.

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