Yeats Poem the Isle of

While imagination is important to the poem, it is not all of it. Stuart claims that the poem is often “dismissed as a youthful, nostalgic, derivatively romantic lyric” (Stuart 71). In this way, we can see how the poem is more than just a wishful place. The “retreat to the island of Innisfree is a journey in search of poetic wisdom and spiritual peace, a journey prompted by supernatural yearnings, a journey in quest of identity within a tradition” (71). Stuart claims that the wisdom and peace that the author seeks can only be “realized through a poetic and spiritual grasp of the purity and even identity that exists between the legendary past of the Celtic world and the present” (72). The place is real and it is imagined. Clearly, Yeats intended for us to see both worlds through his lens.

Chrism Semansky agrees. He states, “The details in the first stanza read as a kind of blueprint for his Eden-like cabin.

.. The second stanza, however, paints a more impressionistic scene… The imagery and figurative language… underscore the dreamy nature of the speakers fantasy” (Semansky).

The Isle of Innisfree is a very real place and a very imagined place. Yeats brings both types of worlds together with this poem because he successfully touches on the real and the imagined. This poem is a perfect example of how imagination and imagery can work together to create an environment and atmosphere that pleases reader and writer.

Works Cited

Hunter, Stuart, “Return to la bonne vaux: The Symbolic Significance of Innisfree.” Modern Language Studies. 14.3. JSTOR Resource Database. Site Accessed September 20, 2008.

Semansky, Chris. “Critical Essay on The Lake Isle of Innisfre.” Poetry for Students, GALE Resource Database. Site Accessed September 20, 2008.

Yeats, William Butler. “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” Literature, an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, & Drama. 4th Compact Ed. Kennedy, X.J.,.


leave a Comment