W.B. Yeats’s Selected Poems is edited with an introduction and notes by Timothy Webb in Penguin Modern Classics.
Few have lived their ideas so passionately and nobly as W.B. Yeats in his love affairs, politics and poetry. From his youth in the 1880s, a fertile dreamer rediscovering and remaking the Irish tradition, he grew into a great and innovative poet of the twentieth century. This selection of Yeats’s work includes the final book from the unjustly neglected narrative poem The Wanderings of Oisin and a number of lyrics from Yeats’s work as poetic dramatist. This edition breaks new ground by allowing the reader to engage with a dozen poems in alternative versions; in many other cases it provides significant variants, so that Yeats’s struggle to revise his poetry can be experienced with unusual immediacy. It also includes explanatory and textual notes for each poem.
W B Yeats (1865-1939) was one of the great and innovative poets of the twentieth century. Much of his most vigorous verse on love, sex, Irish and international politics, the complexities of the occult and the ‘sedentary toil’ of poetry was produced in the years between his fiftieth birthday in 1915 and his death in 1939.
If you enjoyed Selected Poems, you might like The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, also available in Penguin Classics.
‘A compelling poetic presence … together with Joyce, Yeats made modern Irish poetry possible’