W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) began writing poetry as a devotee of Blake, Shelley, the pre-Raphaelites, and of nineteenth-century Irish poets including James Clarence Mangan and Samuel Ferguson. By the end of his life, he had, as T.S. Eliot said, created a poetic language for the twentieth century. The First Yeats deepens our understanding of the making of that poetic imagination, reprinting the original texts of Yeats's three early collections, The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1899), The Countess of Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics (1892), and The Wind Among the Reeds (1899). The poems were subsequently heavily revised or discarded. Among them are some of the best-loved poems in English – 'The LakeIsle of Innisfree', 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' – fresh and unfamiliar here in their original contexts, together with Yeats's lengthy notes which were drastically cut in the collected editions. This illuminating edition by Edward Larrissy, editor of W.B. Yeats, The Major Works (Oxford University Press, 2000), includes an introduction that clarifies the literary, historical and intellectual context of the poems, detailed notes, and a bibliography. It offers essential material for reading –and revaluing – one of the great modern poets.