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Selected Poetry

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  2,710 ratings  ·  68 reviews
All things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
One time it was a woman's face, or worse-
The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
Than this accustomed toil.
--From All Things Can Tempt Me

Nobel Prize winner W.B. Yeats laid the foundations for an Irish literary revival, drawing inspiration from his country's folklore, the occult, and
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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The poems I liked, I really liked. However, there were quite a few that I didn't much care for and found difficult to understand. I do appreciate that Yeat's poems must have spoke more to Irish people at the time of writing, especially the poems which referenced Parnell, Irish nationalism etc. I also think I would have enjoyed the poems more with more knowledge of mythology as a lot of the poems do reference mythical characters, some that I've never heard of.

Two of my favourite poems from this b
Sound file of this review here:

I’ve always been particularly fond of Yeats. Recently I’ve been told twice in quick succession he was more than just a little rightwing politically and that this ought to put me off him. The problem is that getting turned off poets just because they are rightwing wouldn’t really leave me all that many poets to read.

I tend to buy my oldest daughter books of selected poems for Christmas – I’m not quite sure why or how it even
"For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And 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
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
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.
Contains one of my all time favourite poem: An Irish Airman Foresees His Death.

Those that I fight, I do not hate
Those that I guard, I do not love

-W.B. Yeats
Jay Daze
A volume of selected poems is a strange beast to read and then to consider afterwards. Mostly there is an awe at what a strange and rich collection of poetry this book has in it. There is his obsession with Maud Gonne - which even setting aside a certain tradition of stalkerish love poetry will be interesting to read about further. Then there is the mystic poetry, his tendency to make up his own symbology - something designed to drive newbs like myself slightly batty. But above all there are the ...more
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 po ...more
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 imp ...more
Ned Cody
Yeats can be irritating sometimes: snobbish, attitudinizing...His symbolism can be off-putting, and so can his name-dropping.

But anyone who can write about a savage god in one poem:

We, who still labour by the cromlech on the shore,
The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew,
Being weary of the world's empires, bow down to you,
Master of the still stars and of the flaming door;

and utter this gentle plea to his love in another:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams.
I have spread
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 witho ...more
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 thi
Μιτς Γιωτίξ
I'm not really experienced in poetry- that was the first time I read poems. But I really loved Yeats' works, especially the most melancholic ones!
Jun 28, 2008 Ladypoet33 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like poetry
Recommended to Ladypoet33 by: nobody, I just picked it up myself

My favorite:

An Appointment
By. W.B. Yeats

Being out of heart with government
I took a broken root to fling
Where the proud, wayward squirrel went,
Taking delight that he could spring;
And he, with that low whinnying sound
That is like laughter, sprang again
And so to the other tree at a bound
Nor the tame will, nor timid brain,
Nor heavy knitting of the brow
Bred that fierce tooth and cleanly limb
And threw him up to laugh on the bough;
No government appointed him.

What more can I say? The poem speaks for its
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 scrunc ...more
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 J ...more
Kenneth 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 ...more
M.I. Lastman
The most important English language poet of the twentieth century, although there are a few that I like even more: Auden/Hardy/Thomas.
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
Read many of these poems before in different classes. . . taking Irish Lit. this semester so needing to revisit them!

Don't really like poetry so i can't rate this book but I do LOVE the symbolism he incorporates in his poetry(having to do with Irish history. . .)

These are my favorites
The Second Coming
Easter 1916(not in this book but my favorite yeats poem!)
Setpember 1913
No Second Troy
When you are old
The Lake Isle of Innisfree.
Before visiting Ireland last year, I read a book of Irish verse. And there's a lot of it... the Irish write poetry like they drink whiskey. However, one poet stands out beyond the others. Yeats is one of the world's exemplars of modernism. His poems transcended the Irish landscape, history, and folklore that gave birth to them. He was prolific, and there's plenty of early dreck, so I recommend the Selected Poems for the best examples.
Taty V
My Favorite:

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Really interesting collection of poetry that spans Yeats' diverse and lengthy career. Would probably have enjoyed this particular collection more if I had further historical knowledge and could, therefore, put it into context a little more. However, that said, I found the poems to be hauntingly honest and evocative and I quite happily wrote a paper on them!
Ke Huang
It is amazing how political Yeats was, but his poems were all about how much love he had to give. There were some figures he mentions that I couldn't recognize, but that's only my fault.

The only reason I won't give the collection five stars was that, after a while, most of the poems became more of the same. The references to swans, gold and silver got a bit tiring.
Nikolay Dyulgerov
One could learn a lot about Irish history and folklore from Yeats' poems. One would also benefit a lot in understanding them if he/she has some knowledge in those areas beforehand.
I personally didn't have, and just occasionally checked various names and places, which I think made some of the poems hard to read and understand.
Another reread. Beautiful poetry.
Heaney's introduction is informative and educational, and his selection of Yeats' poetry is comprehensive. There were some poems I was surprised didn't make his cut, but for the whole, this is a pleasant and readable edition of Yeats' work by another one of Ireland's great poet-sons.
Not my favorite collection of poetry, although it does contain a few poems I really enjoyed by him. That is the problem with Selected Poems, it all depends on the tastes of the person choosing those poems. The ones chose were not always my taste. It does give a good overview, though.
My favorite selection of one of the finest poets. Even if you are not into poetry, Yeats will have something for you. Some of it is pastoral, some of it contemplative on history, some of it total whimsy. Take the time to learn about Yeats. You will not be disappointed!
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.
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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
More about W.B. Yeats...
The Collected Poems Irish Fairy and Folk Tales Poetry, Drama and Prose Selected Poems and Four Plays The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore

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