One may find from Finneran similar collections in the The Yeats Reader: A Portable Compendium of Poetry, Drama, and Prose and his ample collection, similarly titled but briefer, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. Either may also be found more favorably priced as well, and, more humbly bound, submissive to rough and daily usage.
Nevertheless this is the best you can get, and the price for a Like New or even a New copy is now quite accessible. I am very glad to have acquired mine today, through the great and mighty amazon.
I have the Scribner Collected Poems linked here, which I shall use for my reading copy. This I will place in the shelf of Bibles, for special use, and special times, when settled in arm chair to read, in peace and safety, should that day ever come. This is a glorious book, of great scholarship and dignity, and commands respect.
I refer here to the revised Second Edition published copyright 1997, so wonderful to hold, to find familiar verse, to bear in arms and to read.
Essential reading for any appreciation of Mr. Yeats I have found in Professor Vendler's Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form, which has opened so much to me, not only Mr. Yeats but beyond, into lyric form. I wished it had included a explicit and systematic revelation of his shifting meter as well, but what magnitude there is is ever-expanding.
Please see also Mr. Ellman's study of WB, Yeats, the man and the masks (A Dutton paperback) and Eminent Domain: Yeats Among Wilde, Joyce, Pound, Eliot and Auden.. I now await a recorded version of his work on Yeats, also through the amazon.
In this present volume, so dignified, so glorious, so firm, so stern and serious to hold in hand, certain of its own great worth, we find therefore the most comprehensive collection of Mr. Yeats poetry possible, and the most authoritative. Part one of this 752 page book is titled Lyrical, containing every collection of poetry published in his lifetime, plus other collections, in chronological order, beginning with the 1889 Crossways through the 1899 Wind Among the Reeds through the Wild Swans at Coole of 1919 (containing some of his best known pieces) through the 1928 The Tower, through the Winding Stair and other poems of 1933, which includes Blood and Moon so well explained by Professor Vendler, and the Crazy Jane sequence, through New Poems and Last poems of 1938-9. Of course several collections are skipped in this present list for lack of space.
This first Part also contains "Narrative and Dramatic" Poems beginning with the early Wanderings of Oisin (1889) through to the 1923 Gift of Harun Al-Rashid.
Part Two contains Additional Poems, 129 in all. Then follows Appendix A of Yeat's own notes to his Collected Poems (1933). These from the Poet himself are followed by Finneran's Notes upon those Notes, as in the Scribner collection. Then follows five musical notations for five poems from 1938's New Poems, with notes for the tunes and their traditional origin.
Then comes one hundred pages of explanatory notes original to this editor, who explains what to expect and what not to expect within them. "The purpose of these notes is to annotate all specific allusions in the poems. Annotation of other kinds, as well as interpretive commentary, has been avoided (p. 623)." Along with other avoidances, Finneran mentions ascribing certain personages to certain poems as a slippery slope not to be approached, although traditionally we have assumed certain poems to be "about" someone in Yeats' life, just as we like to assume we know the object of the Sonnets of Shakespeare, including his "Dark Lady." Finneran explains: "This last omission perhaps requires comment, as many readers of Yeats are accustomed to approaching a particular poem 'knowing' that it is about a certain person - be it Maude Gonne, Olivia Shakespear, Margot Ruddock, or whomever. However, firm evidence for many of those identifications is lacking. Moreover it is arguable that Yeats did not wish to narrow the meanings of those poems by presenting them as statements about specific autobiographical situations. A key instance is 'Upon a Dying Lady.' ( . . .) he preferred to present it as a universal statement on death and dying, much as he told Hugh Lane that 'To a Wealthy Man . . .' was addressed to 'an imaginary person' (see note to 114.4)"
I quote this at length to demonstrate the academic rigor of these notes, that they keep to what is provable and not fanciful. We may trust Finneran's judgment and scholarship here in these notes as elsewhere. The notes therefore are not only extensive but based on solid, demonstrable research.
Then follows a few pages of Textual Notes which describe the sources used for the poems, in Part B the copy texts used and in Part B Emendations to the copy texts, with the authority for emendations made. Those requiring further information upon these, Finneran's editorial decisions are referred to his Editing Yeats Poems: A Reconsideration.
Following this helpful section lies the Index of Titles and of course the Index of First Lines.
I hope this brisk walk through this tome has been of some assistance in your search to purchase. Certainly you might have discovered this through the Search Inside feature of the amazon product page, but perhaps this helps in something. Truly this is a book worthy of every home, each library, each university, every hearthside.
Incidentally this is but the first of fourteen volumes collecting every thing known published by Mr. Yeats, with additional materials. The entire series is overseen by Mr. Finneran and George Mills Harper. The second volume contains the The Plays: Vol.2 (The collected works of W.B. Yeats), edited by David R. Clark. Let these small steps begin your acquisition of the full set, well worth it in our darkening post-literate age, in which we lose the power to express the human heart with this power and precision, and glory.
Read this book, and live it, and sing it, and write your own . . .