Themes and Analysis of Esenin's Poems

An analysis of the themes that Sergei Esenin used shows an overall theme of his village life. His poetry focused on nature, love, the village, religion, reflections of life and death, folk songs, and folk heroes. (Davies, 295) Esenin was called a peasant poet after his use of these themes and his sources in folk roots, and his studies of folklore and traditional folk poetry. Esenin’s poetry has been called the true folk poetry of Russia. His poetry resulted in an emotive, poetic language that was given to the masses that had lost their lore and tongue. (Ronen, 397) His poetry shows a strong love of Russia and his homeland. He wrote about Russian nature - living and throbbing in pristine freshness, full of colors, sounds, smells, and how inseparable it is from the poet’s feelings. (Koshechkin, 126) Moris Mendelson wrote of a meeting with Esenin:

He recited his poems on the natural beauty of his country and the transformations in Russia, to workers who were mainly of Russian origin. Probably, the revolutionary trend in Esenin’s poetry was more important to his audience than his lyricism. Realizing this, the poet recited those poems which allowed his listeners to get an idea of how dear the new developments in his native land were to him. (175)

His poetry had a strong religious theme, which has been attributed to his schooling at a seminary where he was enthralled by church services. He used stereotypes of religion that already existed in the culture to create a particular value in Russia. (Krive, 347) When he returned from a trip to America, he wrote with a passionate hostility towards a world lacking in everything spiritual. (Mendelson, 176) His use of biblical and religious images stems from the revolution and the surge toward the future. He saw his promised land in the revolution. (Koshechkin, 121)

Esenin welcomed the October revolution enthusiastically. He was one of the first poets to address the theme of Lenin, and did so without obscuring Lenin as a human being. He wrote of Lenin as a national leader who inspired the revolution. (Koshechkin. 126) "With words of power/ He gave us strength to watch the hour."



Esenin joined a the Imaginist movement shortly after the revolution. Their theory was that the image was an end in itself, and that art had no content and no social mission. Although he was formally a member of this group, he did not follow with this theory and sought to link the image with everyday life. He used image to reveal relations in real life. (Koshechkin, 123) Esenin also believed that his colleagues did not have a sense of Russia as their homeland. Eseninís folk poetry follows that of Blok and Klyuev. After Esenin returned from abroad, he joined a group of realists.


Gallery of Russian Poets Esenin's Poems Timeline of Esenin's Life
Pictures Poem for Esenin- by Mayakovsky Thoughts
On Esenin's Death Esenin and the Russian Revolution