Political Talk in the Words of William Butler Yeats

William Yeats

William Yeats was known as an avid poet and figure in the political world. His poem called “Politics”, published in 1939 scopes into political issues such as the Spanish Civil War, World War II and it was the time before Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Regime was implemented. The story line behind the poem is that the speaker claims that he can’t focus on simple things such as his surroundings in everyday life due to the political issues at the time. This is shown as the speaker states, “How can I, that girl standing there,/ My attention fix/ on Roman or on Russian/or on Spanish politics” (1-4). Even though Yeats does not directly say that wars were happening in his poem, it is evident in 1939 as I previously stated that the Spanish Civil War and World War II was going on in Europe. As a result, his attention was focused on politics.

For my poem called “Celebrities”, I would like to discuss how celebrity gossip makes headlines and is emphasized more than other important news such as the revolution in Ukraine, important political situations in the United States, and other world issues such as famine, diseases, and etc. Similar to Yeats, I want to focus on what the nation focuses on and in this day and age, celebrities and material possessions is what U.S. citizens are more aware of in my opinion. My inspiration for this was a news clip that I saw where a congresswoman was talking about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting phone records when she was interrupted by the news reporter who gave “breaking news” that Justin Bieber was at a bond hearing for DUI and resisting arrest. Moreover, I want this poem to focus on the things the nation and world alike should be paying attention to.


How could you, fail to see Ukrainian fights,
Your fixation on
Stars Justin and Miss Miley
Or those jailbird celebrities,
Yet there’s a worldly man that’s aware
Of the bad worldwide,
And here’s a scientist
Who has tried to rid diseases,
I’m aware they know the truth
Of reality and world issues,
O now that I am know wanting
To spread the truth to you.

Yeats, William. “Politics.” The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. By Jahan Ramazani, Richard Ellmann, and Robert O’Clair. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. 143. Print.

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