New Poems, the last book that Yeats published in his lifetime, contains 35 poems, including "Lapis Lazuli," "The Municipal Gallery Re-visited," and "The Gyres." It is a volume in which Yeats attempted to make a fresh beginning. In language fueled by rage and frustration, the poems in this collection traverse emotions stimulated by Yeats's feelings toward women, his travels to Majorca, and political ideas inspired or provoked by Charles Parnell, Roger Casement, and Oliver Cromwell. "New Poems," write the editors, "has the newness of discovery in a vortex of exhaustion, desire, and calculation. . . . The sense of a renewal in the eighth decade of Yeats's life was precarious and, when it came, especially poignant."
The materials gathered here reveal the process by which Yeats wrote individual poems, established relations among them, and considered their possible placement in the collection. Photographs of drafts, stanzas floating within—but not trapped by—the margins of loose-leaf pages, in Yeats's characteristically illegible hand, are accompanied by the editors' transcriptions. Four appendixes contain an illustration for New Poems, Yeats's draft of the volume's table of contents, a poem written in collaboration between Yeats and Dorothy Wellesley, and three unpublished ballads.