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The Tower

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  254 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The first edition of W. B. Yeats's The Tower appeared in bookstores in London on Valentine's Day, 1928. His English publisher printed just 2,000 copies of this slender volume of twenty-one poems, priced at six shillings. The book was immediately embraced by book buyers and critics alike, and it quickly became a bestseller.

Subsequent versions of the volume made various chan

Published 1928
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Chris Schaeffer
Jan 04, 2011 Chris Schaeffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Snowed in, my girlfriend cut my hair in my kitchen and I read out loud from The Tower. Later that afternoon we trudged to a coffee shop through waist-high snow and I finished it over a cup of extremely strong coffee. The coffee-shop owner had The Kinks on.
Apr 27, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
What shall I do with this absurdity—
O heart, O troubled heart—this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?
Never had I more
Excited, passionate, fanatical
Imagination, nor an ear and eye
That more expected the impossible—
No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly,
Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben’s back
And had the livelong summer day to spend.
It seems that I must bid the Muse go pack,
Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend
Until imagination, ear and eye,
Can be conte
Jan 10, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, top-100
When I am Yeats' age at the time he wrote The Tower, I hope to better understand all the hidden layers of meaning he puts forth in these poems. Released in 1928, The Tower marks him at his most mature, serving as a contrast to all the romantic poems he'd written in the 1800s. If there is an underlying theme to these poems, it's that Yeats has reluctantly succumbed to the madness of a world run by greed and war, and yearns to rediscover the vitality he'd had in his youth. Metaphorically, The ...more
Apr 03, 2014 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been wanting to read Yeats for a long time and found this book at the Library.

Yeats has an interesting style that allows for an easy read that is also a deep read. As you work through the poems, you can almost feel the underlying meaning to some of them. It's like he is trying to tell you something more, but wants you decipher it for yourself. In many ways, poetry is supposed to make us think about what our personal reactions and perceptions about the words we read are and Yeats does thi
May 27, 2012 Van rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry

"So like a bit of stone I lie / Under a broken tree." When I came across these lines I couldn't help but wonder whether this was a reference to Fascism by way of John Heartsfield's "O Tannenbaum..." image of a tree twisted into the shape of a swastika; or whether he thought it up independently. But of course, it is likely merely reference to many other instances of stone and tree combined, just another example of a common association. We never really know unless the poet successfully tells us so

Mar 24, 2012 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was very good.
willaim butler yeats has an established, strong poetic style, thats very unique and recognizable.
most of his poems hold a great deal of references to mythology lending its self to the hugh of fantasy, these poems really capture you and pull you out of your surroundings.
however, to non avid poetry fans I would never recommend this.
its heavy with its similes and its entangled imagery, and non poetry lovers would not enjoy it what so ever.
this book, I think, fo a proper revi
Nov 29, 2015 Yooperprof rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland, poetry
I have mummy truths to tell
Whereat the living mock,
Though not for sober ear,
For maybe all that hear
Should laugh and weep an hour upon the clock.

-- W.B. Yeats, from "All Souls' Night"
Greg Converse
Yeats is regarded as a great poet. I agree. However, I think this book's highlights, Sailing To Byzantium and The Second Coming, are the only reasons for picking it up. Again, I could be wrong. These reviews are mostly comprised of my opinions, and I have learned that opinions are fine, but the discerning reader will gravitate to what impresses itself upon him, not what someone else has said. And, like the Xena book, there was a space on the alphabetical list where Y should be. (Of course, the X ...more
Rosa Jamali
Nov 22, 2008 Rosa Jamali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yeats was a charismatic figure in the world of literature, so unique. He doesn't repeat once more.So fascinating. He was creative to the last moment of his life, to his death. No poet is like that. The essence he absorbed from the soil & the land of Ireland.Ireland comes so fascinating to me...
It's a hard job translating Yeats as his poetry is so complicated. In each line the words are so mingled in a way you can't find the right equivalent for it , anyway I'm trying ...
To read some of the
Mar 09, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Fairly up and down for me, but the highs were very high, and the lows were nothing terrible.
Mar 09, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, europe, poetry
Favorites: "Sailing to Byzantium," "The Wheel," "The Hero, The Girl, and The Fool," "Owen Ahern and his Dancers," "A Man Young and Old," and "The Gift of Harun Al-Rashid."
Giovanni Gregory
Amazing poetry from a more civilized world.
May 08, 2014 Ally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling. Lovely.
Johanna Haas
Lovely book - but Yeats is in his full neo-classical stage here. Sure, Leda and the Swan is torrid - but much of the rest is far too intellectual. The best parts are when he focuses on his contemporary Ireland - The Tower, Meditations in Time of Civil War, and Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen.
Trever Polak
At times it feels as if Yeats is whining about being old, but whining in the most beautiful way. The stuff about the Irish Civil War was less interesting, but nonetheless this is pretty good. IMO, "The Tower" was the best one in here; my favorite of his poems, "The Second Coming", isn't in this one.
Feb 11, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather enjoyed this collection. Written by an older Yeats, who was like "oh man, these damn kids and these crazy Irish, but also how do I understand time and history and cement my place in them?" Favorite was the title poem, and his strangely defensive poem to Lady Gregory.
Noelle Chaban
Some of Yeats' poems in this collection are meaningful, but I have little use for poetry that is overly esoteric and filled with useless allusions for the sake of sounding exalted.
Matt Ambs
Written upon purchasing Ballylee castle. A collection of poems concerning love, estrangement, the soul, truth and neo-platonic philosophy.
Cooper Renner
May 31, 2008 Cooper Renner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is he the greatest English language poet of the 20th century? Maybe. The rankings don't matter. The beautiful music of these poems matters.
Sep 04, 2013 Brandon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Really didn't like it. I don't know why. I'll need to come back to Yeats later with a more informed opinion.
Jason ("jcreed")
Jun 21, 2008 Jason ("jcreed") rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some excellent poems. Quite liked "Sailing to Byzantium".
Apr 26, 2010 Dwwebber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"5 stars" is inadequate to describe this book.
Apr 07, 2009 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so stoked about reading this book.
D. Pow
Apr 28, 2009 D. Pow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crap, I'd like to OWN this.
Rachel rated it really liked it
Feb 10, 2016
Mark Cope
Mark Cope marked it as to-read
Feb 09, 2016
Gerard marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Ian Donnelly
Ian Donnelly marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
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William Butler Yeats (pronounced /ˈjeɪts/) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms. He was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and along with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn founded the Abbey Theatre, se ...more
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