John Kerrigan writes:
Even now, with Peter McDonald’s intelligently re-edited Collected, we do not have all the MacNeice we could ask for. As McDonald points out, a Complete Poems would be considerably larger than the 600-odd pages of verse plus seven appendices of fugitive poems, prefaces and variants that he gives us. It would include translations, many poems that appeared in small magazines, and others abandoned in manuscript. Though the typical MacNeice poem is decisively thought through, it is caught up in a lifelong, interrupted process. Collected editions often have a sepulchral air; the unfinished nature of MacNeice’s corpus helps makes this one a living monument.
In honour of MacNeice’s centenary year, Faber has produced a new edition of his Collected Poems. The poems are grouped according to the collections in which they first appeared, allowing modern readers to experience the poetry in a similar way to MacNeice’s contemporaries. The texts have been thoroughly revised in light of his later thoughts, and established by a comparison of all printed versions, resulting in the fullest and most accurate collection possible of MacNeice’s work.