2015 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, Book Reviews

Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats

I read this book for National Poetry Month. It is a collection of poems by William Butler Yeats designed for young adult readers. The librarian at my school recommended this series of collections when I told her that I wanted to read poetry but was usually not a big fan of it. I am sad to say the book did not change my opinion of that – I am still not a fan of reading poetry. However, I did find myself enjoying a couple of his poems. My favorites were The Lake Isle of Innisfree  and To A Child Dancing In The Wind. I think The Lake Isle of Innisfree won hands down. It was the only one I really remember from the collection (there were 25 poems total).


There was a brief introduction in the front of the book that I found particularly helpful. It gave a wonderful explanation and biography of Yeats and why the majority of his poems revolve around Ireland and the mystic beings of Irish folklore. Furthermore, each poem has a brief introduction that gives an overview of the poem and the meaning the author was attempting to convey. Also, there are footnotes for difficult words in the poem, well words that are considered difficult for young adult readers. I found both of these aspects helpful and enlightening when reading the poems. I myself do not like searching for the deep underlining meaning of the poems. I like ones that I can easily relate to and are not metaphors for more abstract concepts. As for Yeats, he hit this idea about half the time, so it wasn’t too hard for me to finish the collection.

My favorite part of the book by far were the illustrations and artwork done by Glenn Harrington for the book. They are impressionist, which is my favorite are style and beautifully represent every poem. I would have continued in the book just for those.

I would recommend this book, or rather the entire Poetry for Young People series to anyone starting to get into poetry for the first time. They do a wonderful job of opening up the world of poetry to people unfamiliar with it. I am giving it a 3 cheese rating for attempts to help understand poems and the artwork.

My rating:

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