The Lake Isle of Innisfree

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William Butler Yeats

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is a modernist poem published in Yeats’s second volume of poetry, entitled “The Rose” (1893) and, although simple in form and imagery, it has managed to earn its place as one of his great literary achievements and one of his most enduring. The poem represents a nostalgic description of a concrete, geographical place, the lake isle of Innisfree, which the poet manages to transform into a magical landscape, full of symbols and beautiful elements of nature. The imagery of the poem creates an atmosphere of melancholy, due to the many references to a faraway, idyllic place, but also a feeling of hope and serenity, because of the speaker’s certainty that this isle, this wonderful part of nature, is the best escape from the stress and agitation of the every day life in the city. The poem represents the speaker’s recollection of an excursion in the middle of a wild, uncorrupted corner of the world and manages to embark the readers on the same boat with him, determining them to leave behind every aspect of daily life and allow oneself to dream of this kind of special place every once in a while. The isle is presented as a place of refuge, of calm and serenity. Every stanza brings in front of the reader’s eyes more and more images that the poet manages to charge with beautiful suggestive powers in spite of their apparent simplicity. It is the poet’s impressive ability to combine different elements and to appeal to the reader’s imagination that makes this poem so special. It is a continuous process which grows and overwhelms the reader line by line. Through the many visual and auditive images, the lake isle of Innisfree seems to reveal itself like through magic in front of the reader’s eyes.” Instead of establishing a distance between speaker and reader, Yeats fuses the reader’s perspective into the speaker’s memory of a detached and...
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