Selected Poems, W B Yeats, Penguin Books, 1991, 224 pp
I have not been a poetry reader much before. I was required to read some in school of course, but except for one or two poets, it never clicked with me. A few years ago a young woman I admire told me Mary Oliver was a beloved poet of hers, so I bought a copy of A Thousand Mornings. Reading a poem a day turned out to work well for me.
After finishing that collection I went to my paltry poetry shelf and found this collection of poems by W B Yeats, probably the best known Irish poet. I had bought it years ago during a trip to Ireland, in Sligo, after visiting Ben Bulben. The Penguin Classics edition I have was published in London in 1991. It contains over 200 poems spanning Yeats's publishing history from 1888-1939.
I found poems I did not understand in the least, though the notes in the back of the book were helpful in those cases. I found poems that just sang to me. It seems that the poet poured into his poetry all his wide range of learning, his romantic life, his political views, and his love of Ireland.
It was fascinating to see the man change, age and grow in wisdom. W B Yeats has influenced many writers. His 1920 poem "The Second Coming" provided the title for Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the title for Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion, and was set to music by Joni Mitchell on her Night Ride Home album. "Under Ben Bulben," 1938, gave Larry McMurtry the title for his first novel, Horseman, Pass By.
I enjoyed my time with Yeats. Because I did not always read a poem everyday, I have had him with me for over two years. I would like to read a biography of this man who also wrote plays and essays and who influenced Ireland so intensely.
I also want to thank two bloggers I follow: Dorothy from Houston, TX, The Nature of Things and Edith from Austria, Edith's Miscellany. Both post a poem every week and have encouraged me to continue my pursuit.
Please help me out by leaving a comment on your favorite poets.