Selected Poetry

ISBN: 0451526589
ISBN 13: 9780451526588
By: W.B. Yeats

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

About this book

William Butler Yeats was not only one of the most beloved and honored poets of this century. Playwright, essayist, theatrical impresario, occultist, politician, famously hapless lover�he was also one of the most colorful and complex. Astonishingly, no full biography of Yeats has appeared in many years. Now, Keith Alldritt gives us a lively telling of Yeats's story that puts the poet in the context of his times, from the high Victorian era to the modernism of the thirties.Alldritt reveals that Yeats was not just "the sensitive introvert who began as the mooning dreamer and after a lifetime seeking philosophical and hermetic wisdom, ended as the learned sage" that Yeats himself and his biographers would have us believe. He shows us a less familiar man: "a dedicated careerist, an ambitious man of determined self-interest, a seeker after social standing, and a combative man with a violent temper that sustained him in many nasty quarrels." Confrontational, scrappy, driven, he was deeply involved in both the political and literary issues of his day. He was instrumental in overturning the English domination of Irish literature and in researching and publishing books on Irish lore and fairy tales. He was the founder, with George Bernard Shaw, of the Irish Institute of Arts and Letters as well as the Abbey Theatre, where he refused to close down Synge's inflammatory play The Playboy of the Western World, despite riots in the street. During his tenure as senator in the Irish Parliament, he fought the Catholic divorce laws. At every level, Alldritt shows us a poet engaged in the world. Yeats's long, passionate, and physically unrequited love affair with the beautifulIrish nationalist Maud Gonne, which led to some of his most poignant poetry, is brought vividly to life. Also covered in some detail are Yeats's numerous love affairs in the years before his death. Though condoned by his wife, they have not been explored in previous biographies out of respect for her feelings.Another aspect of Yeats not generally appreciated is his involvement with literary movements outside Ireland and England. He wrote reviews for the Boston Globe; lectured regularly throughout the United States; and spent much time in France, where he was influenced by the symbolist poets, and in Italy, where he joined the Rapallo group led by the quixotic Ezra Pound. In his years of research, Alldritt visited libraries worldwide. He was given special access to Yeats's private papers in the National Library of Ireland and interviewed many people who knew or are knowledgeable about Yeats, most notably Yeats's daughter, Anne. Yeats has been called "the greatest poetic imagination of our century." Now Keith Alldritt reveals another facet of his extraordinary persona. William Butler Yeats was a master craftsman, and one of his most skillful constructs was his own image. He wished to be remembered, above all, as an Irishman and a poet; as a man whose nature had been determined by the almost magical qualities of his childhood in Sligo and whose character had been shaped by the influence of admirable men. There is truth in this depiction of himself, but it is a partial truth only.In this account, I attempt to go beyond his interior world and to evoke and do justice to those individuals and external forces which in their turn made up part of the dialectic of Yeats's life. Yeats lived at a time of profound changes for the Western world from the high Victorianism of the late 1800s to the advent of modernism in the 1930s. I have attempted to offer a strong sense of Yeats in his social and historical context�to show that an important side of his genius was his deep and often manipulative relationship with the turbulent life around him as with his turbulent life within.

Reader's Thoughts

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.

Milica

the magic is lost in translation

PastAllReason

A collection selected by Seamus Heaney with an excellent introduction written by Heaney about Yeats and his poetry. The collection includes all of my favourites by Yeats, and a few I hadn't previously read.

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.

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.

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.

Joanna Paterson

I picked this up and dipped into it while on holiday in Ireland - I couldn't claim to have 'read' it though I'm not sure you ever completely read a book of poems though.I enjoyed the poems I discovered through this selection and can see there are some I want to return to. Some of the poems about Ireland helped to enrich my understanding of some of the issues of Irish history that I was learning about while travelling in and visiting the country

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"

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.

Rikke

"For he would be thinking of loveTill the stars had run awayAnd the shadows eaten the moon."I am perhaps a very selective reader of Yeats' poetry. I do not like all of his poems, but some of them I love and cherish with all of my heart. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in order to understand the majority of his poems an extensive knowledge of Irish culture and mythology is required - which I sadly lack. And also, these poems are meant to be heard, and ideally to be read aloud in a soft Irish voice. The poems are so lyrically and melodically composed they in some ways can resemble the traditional Irish folksongs. I have settled upon a rating of 4 stars, as I do love Yeats and his fairytale-like poetry, which will draw you in and transport you to a long lost time of fairies, mermaids, unicorns and true magic. To read his poems is to feel a wave of blissful harmony wash over your mind and bury your troubles in a deep blue sea of ignorance."But I, being poor, have only my dreams;I have spread my dreams under your feet;Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

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.

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.

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.

lauren

favorite. poet. ever.i blame it all on the second coming.but oh godthat last stanza gives me chills every time i read it. or write it. or think it. such amazing imagery, such beautiful words.

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.

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