This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Poetry Of W.B. Yeats Essay

2332 words - 9 pages

W.B. Yeats, a key figure of the modernist movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was born in Dublin in 1865. Although spending much of his childhood and youth in London, Yeats is seen as an inherently Irish literary figure. Through his early work, employing not only ancient Greek myth, but also Celtic legend, he sought to re-ignite in Ireland notions of heritage and tradition, which had diminished through the years. In Ireland, from around 1890 onwards, there was a very noticeable return to all things Irish, including a re-introduction of the Gaelic language, through the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language, and the formation of a highly nationalist community in Ireland. Alongside these practical returns to Celtic origins, ."..there was a feeling that myth, folklore, a past, was a moral purgative." Yeats not only saw this ."..second go ...at looking at the Celtic past," but also contributed to it through his poetry. However, he did not concentrate his art only on Celtic folklore and legend fused with ancient Greek mythology, but enveloped it with entirely modern issues and concerns, which come to the fore in his later works. His poetry comments on his own concerns over age and physical decay, and how art may be a way of overcoming man's finite time on earth. He illustrates vividly the alluring quality of nature, in relation to Irish myth and legend, and how nature can be used as a method of escapism from life. He focuses not on the physical realism of nature, but on the emotional and spiritual aspect of it. He also makes social comments, with particular mention of the Easter Rising of 1916. Yeats' use of myth in his work ."..has the effect of enlarging a work's scope beyond the merely descriptive," and his poetry binds the descriptive elements of the modern world with the wonder of the ancient and mythological.

Yeats' descriptions of nature often involve specific places, mostly in Ireland. In "The Stolen Child", first published in 1886, he describes a place in Sligo called Sleuth Wood. In this work, he attempts to create a sense of the wonder of nature, the ancient and ageless mystical world of myth and legend. Yeats' "tend[s] to support the idea of a connection between the idea of first, consciousness and the outer world and second, nature and the spiritual world." Instead of concentrating on the physical beauty of the area, he creates a world around it, where faeries "[weave] olden dances"(line 17) and "hid[e] faery vats, / Full of berries/And of reddest stolen cherries" (line 6-8). The poet creates an intoxicating nocturnal world, filled with wonder and spirituality. It seems like a secret world, where a community of fabled creatures spend their time. There is a sense of peace and joy about this place, which the "anxious" world, "full of troubles" could not hope to enjoy.

The poem has a musical tone, which is particularly evident in the refrain at the end of each stanza:

"Come away, O human...

Find Another Essay On The Poetry of W.B. Yeats

The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats

800 words - 3 pages The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats      “The Stolen Child”, a poem by W.B. Yeats, can be analyzed on several levels. The poem is about a group of faeries that lure a child away from his home “to the waters and the wild”(chorus). On a more primary level the reader can see connections made between the faery world and freedom as well as a societal return to innocence. On a deeper and second level the reader can infer Yeats’ desire to see a unified

Symbolism in Leda and the Swan by W.B. Yeats

1707 words - 7 pages Tyranny is forceful dominance over innocence. Poetry and other forms of literature often use symbolism as a means to provide a message. The reasons for the usage of symbolism are as varied as the symbols used. Images are not always as they appear, and when one thinks about poetry more abstractly many interpretations can result. In W.B. Yeats’s poem “Leda and the Swan,” Yeats uses the retelling of a classical myth and its connotations to

Conflicting Themes in The Poetry of W. B. Yeats

1447 words - 6 pages In analysing the poetry of W.B. Yeats, I have come to understand the multiple conflicting themes and positions he presents in his poetry. However, my understanding has been influenced most by Yeats’s exploration of key conflicts in ageing along with political anarchy. These are conveyed respectively in the poems “Wild Swans at Coole” (1916) and “Leda and the Swan” (1923), using the central symbol of the swan. In “Wild Swans at Coole”, Yeats

Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop by W.B. Yeats: Themes and Symbolism

738 words - 3 pages Essay - Yeats Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop: Themes and Symbolism W.B. Yeats had a very interesting personal life. He chased after Maud Gonne, only to be rejected four times. Then, when she was widowed, he proposed to her only out of a sense of duty, and was rejected again. He then proposed to her daughter, who was less than half his age. She also rejected his proposal. Soon after, he proposed to Georgie Hyde Lees, another girl half his

Past, passing, or to Come (An analysis of the stability and change shown throughout Yeats’ poetry)

1086 words - 5 pages poetry, especially in that of Yeats. Critic Richard Ellmann wrote that Yeat’s poetry is in fact about the opposition between “the world of change” and the world of “changelessness”. This analysis is very relevant. In Yeats’ poems: “When you are Old”, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, “The Wild Swans at Coole”, “The Second Coming”, and “Sailing to Byzantium” all show the struggle and opposition between change and stability in the world. First of all

The Life of William Butler Yeats

1270 words - 6 pages studied there for the next four years. All along his schooling, he showed a particular interest in zoology and biology but doesn’t excel academically. At the time of his student occupation, he did remarkably poor in mathematics and languages. In 1881, Yeats later enrolled into Erasmus Smith High School, Dublin and wrote his first poem and essay The Poetry of Samuel Ferguson in 1885. He soon made his debut with this poem and it was first published

The Poetry of Giovanni

2323 words - 9 pages of her first book of poetry, Black Feeling, Black Talk. She quickly gained popularity for her first collection and followed in the same year with the publication of Black Judgement. The unifying themes of the work are the black struggle and the role she sees for herself as both a participant in and a witness to the historic events of the Civil Rights movement.Giving a glimpse into the childhood of the poet is the poem "Nikki-Rosa," which

The Temperature of poetry

1577 words - 7 pages The Temperature of Poetry Poetry is one of the stranger parts of the literary world. A poem can be anything, from a three-lined poem known as a haiku to a giant epic poem like the “The Odyssey.” They can be rhyming or non-rhyming, long or short, sensible or nonsensical. Even lyrics in songs can be considered poetry, seeing as how they are rhyming and flow so well. The parameters for a poem are wide, the requirements few; but no matter what kind

The Ages Of Poetry

1175 words - 5 pages      The English Romantic poets of the 19th Century had a conception about nature that, over a century later, appears in the poetry of today. These poets have had a significant influence on the attitude and vocabulary a contemporary poet uses. Among the contemporary poets, Dana Gioia, in his two poems, "Becoming a Redwood," and "Rough Country," has drawn on the idea of the innocence and untainted

The Art of Poetry

1314 words - 6 pages By analyzing “Ars Poetica” by Archibald MacLeish, I’ll gain a definition of a poem that can be used to analyze other piece of poetry. I start by looking at the layout of the poem. This poem is divided into three parts with four stanzas in each. This tells me that these sections could be read independently and interpreted separately from each other. The first section uses words relating to ‘quiet’ such as mute, dumb, silent, and wordless. The

The Evolution of British Poetry

910 words - 4 pages The Evolution of British Poetry      Throughout the literary history of the Renaissance, a gradual but dramatic change in the poetic style of the time becomes apparent. From one contribution to another, the rebellion between the poetic styles is evident. Early Elizabethan and Jacobean poetry demonstrates the love that mankind shares and the universal truths that the people of that time held so dear. On through the

Similar Essays

W.B. Yeats: Nationalistic Reflection In His Poetry

1079 words - 4 pages W.B. Yeats: Nationalistic Reflection in His Poetry William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer who was one of most influential poets of the Twentieth century. His talents were celebrated by scholars and activists and, in 1923, Yeats received the Nobel Prize for literature. Through his poetry, Yeats confronted the reality that felt was Oppression and Heartship for himself and his Irish brethren. Armed only with a pen

Yeats' Development Through Poetry. About W.B. Yeats' Literary Development

2603 words - 10 pages William Butler Yeats can be described as one of the last romantics, despite broadening his style later in life to include some of the new modernist techniques and ideas. A man of deep respect for ceremony, Yeats maintained his passion for rhyme and meter throughout his life, and this appreciation of form kept him from jumping headlong into the realm of modernism. His poetry begins as highly romantic, fearful and introverted, but as Yeats matures

Lord Tennyson And W.B Yeats: A Comparison Of Women In Poetry

2124 words - 8 pages Lord Tennyson and W.B Yeats: A Comparison Of Women Poetry, like other forms of written expression, is subject to change with the progression of time and expansion of thought. Victorian poetry and Modern poetry are two genres separated by time, but connected by subject matter. Lord Tennyson, a well-known Victorian poet and W.B Yeats, a respected Modern poet, are both men who found inspiration in the female form. How these two men interpreted

W.B. Yeats And The Importance Of Imagination

2188 words - 9 pages W.B. Yeats and the Importance of Imagination The poetry of the Irish writer WB Yeats celebrates how the human imagination gives meaning to life's struggles. Yeats's vision of human creative power evolves with his writing, broadening from seeing the imagination as the embodiment of human desires to understanding the power of the imagination to inspire others and immortalize the creative spirit. Yeats's work, by embracing this power, embraces