Yeats’s Poetry

by: William Butler Yeats

Suggested Essay Topics

“Adam’s Curse” is one of Yeats’s finest early poems, and one of his simplest and most moving love poems. How does the style of the poem mirror its explicit statement about beauty? How does it connect the labor of living with weariness in life and in love?

Compare and contrast “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” a very early poem by Yeats, with “The Circus Animals’ Desertion,” written not long before he died. What, if anything, do these poems have in common? How are they different? What does each poem say about the human heart, and how does the difference between those statements indicate Yeats’s development as a poet?

“The Irish Airman foresees his Death” is a good example of the way in which Yeats combines the political with the personal and the mystical. How does the airman’s involvement in World War I relate to his “lonely impulse of delight,” and what does the “lonely impulse of delight” say about his understanding of the war? What does the poem itself seem to say about the war?

Yeats’s style is quite unique among both nineteenth- and twentieth-century poets. What characterizes his poetic style? What kind of consciousness seems to be indicated by his rough meters, half-rhymes, and frequent violations of formal constraints? How do these traits affect, enhance, or interfere with his aesthetic articulation of his themes?


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