What are W. B. Yeats's poetic techniques and poetic aesthetics?

W. B. Yeats's poetic techniques include repetition and rhyme. His poetic aesthetics tend to center on a mix of violence, nature, and politics.

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W. B. (William Butler) Yeats was a prolific twentieth-century Irish poet who wrote a wide range of poetry during his literary career.

For example, in “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” Yeats relies on repetition. The first clause in the first line of the first stanza reads, “I will arise and go now”. The first clause in the first line of the last stanza also reads, “I will arise and go now.” The middle stanza features repetition as well. Elsewhere in the poem, Yeats repeats the words “peace” and “dropping.”

The repetition and the rhyme scheme of “Innisfree” instill the poem with a musical aesthetic. One can also find the rhyme technique and the musical aesthetic in “A Drinking Song” and in “Leda and the Swan”.

“Leda and the Swan” connects to Yeats’s violent aesthetic. In many poems, Yeats touches on vicious and brutal themes. In “Leda and the Swan” Yeats portrays a graphic form of sexual assault. In “Easter, 1916,” Yeats depicts the Irish people’s ongoing battle with the British. Finally, in “The Second Coming,” Yeats presents a chaotic world that’s on the cusp of destroying itself.

Of course, as “Innisfree” indicates, Yeats also possesses a natural aesthetic. Yet even his poems about nature and animals speak to the ferocity of humans. “The Fish,” for example, contains agonizing imagery. “The Peacock," too, is not without struggle and hardship. Even in “Innisfree,” with its emphasis “peace,” alludes to the fact that peace is hard to come by in the world at large.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 25, 2021
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