Selected Poetry

ISBN: 033031520X
ISBN 13: 9780330315203
By: W.B. Yeats A. Norman Jeffares

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Reader's Thoughts

Martin Davies

What has always struck me about Yeats is how reality and surrealism mix in his poetry: his poetry hangs between the perceivable world of phenomena and the natural world and the world f dreams and the subconscious on the other hand; the two mix in a solution which only Yeats can give us. This makes Yeats difficult to understand, of course: his poems cannot be understood at first reading, not at least form me; they require careful study, sometimes they even escape analysis, you need to put them down and come back to them at a later stage, but, boy, when you crack one of his poems it is as if a whole new world opened its doors to you. Utter genius.

Laura Esther Rivers

This was a strange one for me...very on and off. Still undecided if I would call myself a 'fan' of his work. Some of his poetry delights me, the rest I would have happily skimmed through. I didn't skim however, just wanted him to redeem himself...but he failed.

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.

Thetravelingpanda

Very beautiful poems. I don't think I got all the reference to the folklore but it was still comprehensible. I enjoyed reading free verses as Yeats wrote them, it varies from poem to poem and its stunning to see the results.

TeacherMrLoria

He wished for the Cloths of Heaven. The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland. No Second Troy. Wild Swams at Coole. Meditations in Time of Civil War "only an aching heart, conceives a changless work of art." What Then?

Elizabeth Fitzgerald

I enjoyed the first poems but the further I went into the volume the harder they were to understand and I found them rather inaccessible. I don't know a whole lot about Yeats and I think I would have preferred a volume with more annotation and commentary.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ladypoet33

My favorite:An AppointmentBy. W.B. YeatsBeing out of heart with governmentI took a broken root to flingWhere the proud, wayward squirrel went,Taking delight that he could spring;And he, with that low whinnying soundThat is like laughter, sprang againAnd so to the other tree at a boundNor the tame will, nor timid brain,Nor heavy knitting of the browBred that fierce tooth and cleanly limbAnd threw him up to laugh on the bough;No government appointed him.What more can I say? The poem speaks for itself of that longing for freedom from government.

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.

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