Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats” as Want to Read:
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

(The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  37,004 ratings  ·  418 reviews
The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats includes all of the poems authorized by Yeats for inclusion in his standard canon. Breathtaking in range, it encompasses the entire arc of his career, from luminous reworking of ancient Irish myths and legends, to passionate meditations on the demands and rewards of youth and old age, from exquisite, occasionally whimsical songs of love, ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 9th 1996 by Scribner (first published 1950)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Hunter Ross The book "Collected Poems (Macmillan Collector's Library) – July 19, 2016" Does indeed! My all time favorite:
"The Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heaven's e…more
The book "Collected Poems (Macmillan Collector's Library) – July 19, 2016" Does indeed! My all time favorite:
"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.

W. B. Yeats"(less)
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanAriel by Sylvia PlathThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotShakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Best Poetry Books
2,589 books — 2,531 voters
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtDubliners by James JoyceDracula by Bram StokerUlysses by James Joyce
Best Irish Literature
579 books — 675 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,004 ratings  ·  418 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats #1), W.B. Yeats, Richard J. Finneran (Editor)

To a child dancing in the wind

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water's roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool's triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of the wind?


تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و نهم
...more
Lisa
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobels, favorites
"For books continue each other, in spite of our habit of judging them separately."

This quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One's Own comes to my mind when I sit down to have a closer look at one of my favourite poets. For it wasn’t Yeats I was searching for when I went through my shelves today. It was Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe’s classic novel. Seeing Yeats in the shelf, however, I remembered that the title is from his famous poem “The Second Coming”, and I opened the earmarked poetry c
...more
Szplug
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not everything in here works for me, but Yeats is never less than a pleasure to read. As others have remarked upon, he's what one might describe as a proper poet: his rhythmic structure and rhymes flow off of the reading tongue—and at his best, he cannot be touched for the ariose beauty of his lyrical genius.
Before the World Was Made

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking
...more
Alan
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have given hourlong recitations of Yeats's poems, among the easiest to recall in English; for example, his tetrameters in the late "Under Ben Bulben" which contains his epitaph. I defy you to say this aloud three times without knowing most of it by heart: "Whether man dies in his bed,/ Or the rifle knocks him dead,/ A brief parting from those dear/ Is the worst man has to fear." And his own epitaph is memorable, "Cast a cold eye/ On life, on death/ Horseman, pass by!" It is anti-conventional, ...more
Leo .
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just looking at my bookcase and brushing off some old books covered in dust. Man how did I miss Yeats? Literary genius. 👍🐯
Kevin Kuhn
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don’t typically go for poetry, but I’m working on a project where a cursory understanding of Irish literature is helpful. I enjoyed this collection, although I must admit that much of it was beyond me at some level. This collection includes a variety of Yeats’ styles – lyrical, narrative, and dramatic. It also spans from 1889 to 1939.

Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild.
With a faery, hand in hand, more full of weeping than you can understand.


At first, I simply read the poe
...more
Biblio Curious
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Still my favourite poet of all time! Read this one cover to cover, spent heaps of time leisurely sifting through these evocative, elliptic lines of eternity. Gyres, skies, stars & wisdom ensues. The meaning, like a carefully crafted lake of silent water, tilted ever so slightly that the form is just out of your mind's reach. If these mysterious words draw you in & make you curious, perhaps this poetry collection is for you. If they repel you, perhaps Wordsworth is your kind of poet. It takes at ...more
Alexis Hall
Okay. Cards on the table.

I'm not actually that into Yeats. I mean, he's fine, don't get me wrong. Kind of an interesting dude with his Cabalism and his Jacob Black-esque mother-to-daughter romantic transference thing.

And some of his poetry I can't deny is pretty impressive stuff: the one about wishing for the cloths of the heaven, and the second coming, and the lake isle of innisfree. All that silver apples of the moon stuff. Very nice.

But, honestly, I used to keep this on my bedside table in or
...more
Matt
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing


Yeats, Yeats, what can you say?

Ireland. Mysticism. Longing. Despair. PO-etry!

This is a surprisingly consistent, formidable, subtle and wide ranging oeuvre and I'm not the only person to have overheard the suggestion that Yeats was the greatest poet of the 20th Century.

Lets not forget the influence. Not only in Ireland but in elsewhere, as part of some variation on the human cultural inheritance. As far as I can tell, there were at least three major (to my mind, anyway) poets who admitted that w
...more
Steven Walle
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The poetry was very good but rather depressing. I believe he could have used some happy pills. I would recommend it to all however.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Manny
My favourite piece of Yeats, which I've known since I was a teenager. I've never really figured out what it means, but I think it's wonderful all the same:
Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.
Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
For God has bid them share an equa
...more
Czarny Pies
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the fall of my last year in high school, I read extensively from this book in order to prepare my fall term paper. I chose Yeats because the Clancy Brothers occasionally included readings of poems by Yeats on their records and in their concerts. Given that the Clancy Brothers were very close Bob Dylan they constituted for me an important authority.

Looking back I realized now what an anomaly Yeats was. He was a master of cadence, sound and rhyme skills that are no longer valued by English poet
...more
Liz Janet
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head:


Everything he writes is beauty personified, from his love poems to his Irish mythology.

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and ye
...more
Nick
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
If not for The Wanderings of Oisin, this was a 2.5/5.

I think half of Yeats's poems include the word "dew." It's used so many times it actually increasingly pissed me off with each successive occurrence and almost culminated in my throwing the book across the room.

Joyce was entirely right in his criticism of Yeats.

Save for a few good poems, the rest are entirely forgettable.
...more
Libby
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of Irish legends and the metaphysical
Shelves: spirit, lush, sensual
Aaah W.B, you were my first love! The first poet that ever made me cry real tears purely from the beauty of words. I travelled from the other side of the world to visit your grave and leave you flowers as thanks.
It is very hard to pick a favourite poem but if pressed on the subject I guess it would be:

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I w
...more
E. G.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, uk-ireland, own, 4-star
Preface
Introduction


Lyrical

Crossways (1889)
--The Song of the Happy Shepherd
--The Sad Shepherd
--The Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes
--Anashuya and Vijaya
--The Indian upon God
--The Indian to his Love
--The Falling of the Leaves
--Ephemera
--The Madness of King Goll
--The Stolen Child
--To an Isle in the Water
--Down by the Salley Gardens
--The Meditation of the Old Fisherman
--The Ballad of Father O'Hart
--The Ballad of Moll Magee
--The Ballad of the Foxhunter

The Rose (1893)
--To the Rose upon the Rood of T
...more
Allie
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Every night before falling asleep, I have been reading this wonderful compilation of Yeats' poems. In part, this has been an effort to distract myself from endlessly scrolling through dismal news sites and the cacophony of social media: to give my tired mind another focus. But I found these poems were not just a distraction, but also a joy. This is definitely a collection that I will return to again; there is always something new to discover in Yeats' poems.

Yeats was incredibly prolific and this
...more
Cindy Rollins
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was an extensive collection of Yeats’ poems. Some were magnificent, some easy to read, others difficult and obscure. Great for Kindle since I could hover over proper nouns and strange words to learn more. Complex just like the Irish poet himself.
William
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I tend to feel that Yeats gets a lot of well-warranted praise for the lyrical heights of his best work, but being fully honest in a setting where they're all grouped together, it's harder to distinguish the greater poems from the simply appreciable ones. But the best stuff makes me want to stop writing poetry altogether because it's so good, so what do I know haha. ...more
Madeline
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I like Yeats, I think. Mostly because he likes Irish mythology and writes lots of poems about it - a basic knowledge of Irish myths is helpful, but not totally necessary.

One of my favorites, for sheer Icky But Awesome Factor, is Leda and the Swan. My class spent nearly an hour discussing it and I almost understand it.

"LEDA AND THE SWAN

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless brea
...more
Nick Black
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
When you hear a slouch
In your neighborhood
What troubles your sight?
SPIRITUS MUNDI!
(I ain't afraid of no rough beasts!)
...more
Douglas Wilson
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Frequently did not know what was going on, but enjoyed many wonderful phrases and images. An endless wood, full of Celtic twilight.
Andrew
Dec 17, 2019 added it
Shelves: poetry
I wasn't sure how I felt about Yeats, so I went through and can more or less confirm that he wrote some good poems later in his career -- even a few very good poems -- but that the bulk of his work, particularly the early stuff more rooted in Irish folklore and the ethos of the pre-Raphaelites, felt just a little bit too Lord of the Rings-meets-Michael Flatley for me to actually like. Maybe it's because I'm not Irish, maybe it's my being firmly here and now in the 21st Century, but I have to con ...more
Jamie
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some beautiful poems on life, aging and love. Some of my favorites:

- The sad shepherd
- Ephemera
- Down by the salley gardens
- The white birds
- He wishes for the cloths of heaven
- Beggar to beggar cried
- To a child dancing in the wind
- Shepherd and goatherd
- A prayer for my daughter
- Meditations in time of civil war
- Words for music perhaps - XV Three things

Two poems I will quote:

He wishes for the cloths of heaven

Had I the heaves' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue
...more
Nikoline
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of poetry
Recommended to Nikoline by: no one
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats has a gift for language even when the subject of his poetry devolves into repetition of Irish myths. His way with words is admirable, and even though I am not very religious, his poems about God and angles really got to me.

There is no doubt that he is a Shakespeare with his words, but he is still rather good and very enjoyable on rainy days. My favourite poem also happens to be written by Yeats and it goes like this: A mermaid found a sw
...more
Mo
Feb 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
He's conceited. He's an elitist. He's sexist. He's more than a little crazy. But he's also a genius so we'll forgive him all that.

That's what my Yeats teacher told me anyways!
...more
Bernie Gourley
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection gathers about 300 poems from 12 poetry collections by Yeats. Most of the dozen collections are included in their entirety.

Yeats is considered by some to be the best poet of the 20th century and by most to be among the best. Most poetry readers will be familiar with Yeats’ more commonly anthologized poems such as: “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” “The Second Coming,” “Leda and the Swan,” and “Sailing to Byzantium.” However, many readers may not be familiar with the full scope of his
...more
Margo
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
<33
Yeats makes me feel like I'm a child again, curled up by the fire listening to my mum singing his poems to us. I think they were written to be recited or sung - they are rhythmical and folkloric, filled with excitement and magic and mysticism.

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little sil
...more
Shane
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, ireland
"Words alone are certain good." ...more
Antonia
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
As a poet myself, I couldn't help but marvel at this masterpiece. Utterly speechless by the deep meanings and themes. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Collected Poems
  • The Waste Land and Other Poems
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • The Waste Land
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962 (Revised, Corrected, and Expanded Edition)
  • Collected Poems, 1909-1962
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • The Complete Stories and Poems
  • Howl and Other Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Les Fleurs du Mal
  • Falling Up
  • Love & Misadventure
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
See similar books…
2,061 followers
William Butler Yeats 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, serving as its chief dur ...more

Other books in the series

The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Collected Works of William Butler Yeats
  • Autobiographies (The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Volume 3)
  • The Collected Works, Vol. 4: Early Essays
  • The Collected Works, Vol. 5: Later Essays
  • Prefaces and Introductions
  • Letters to the New Island
  • The Collected Works, Vol. 8: The Irish Dramatic Movement
  • The Collected Works, Vol. 9: Early Articles and Reviews
  • The Collected Works, Vol X: Later Articles & Reviews: Uncollected Articles, Reviews & Radio Broadcasts Written After 1900
  • John Sherman / Dhoya (The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats, Volume 12)

Articles featuring this book

Every month is a good month to appreciate poetry, but in April it's an official thing. Founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets,...
62 likes · 29 comments
“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.”
1257 likes
“THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea”
402 likes
More quotes…