Date of Thesis

Spring 2021


This thesis examines the role of poetry in political expression centered around revolutions in the British Isles and, through a juxtaposition of historical political poetry and contemporary poems, this examination proposes a new role for poetry: that of media critic. The first chapter analyzes the poetry of the English Civil War using the works of Richard Lovelace, Katherine Philips, Lucy Hutchinson, and John Milton. By examining two royalist and two parliamentarian poets, this chapter is able to give evidence that supports the integration of both internal and external focuses in political poetry. The second chapter moves on to the poetry of the Troubles and looks at the poetry of John Hewitt, Seamus Heaney, and Bobby Sands in relation to the English Civil War poets order to analyze the development of poetry as a media critic in the modern era. Finally, the third chapter suggests, through a side-by-side analysis of David Clarke’s poetry and the social media coverage of Brexit, that poetry’s role should now be that of media critic. In sum, this thesis aims to provide related examples of poetry serving a role as a form of political expression, and show how, even in the midst of a technological revolution, poetry can continue to be politically relevant. It provides a proposal for poetry’s new role by theorizing that poetry can serve as a media critic to keep these new forms of media in check and to allow people a medium for reflection.


poetry, politics, mass media, English Civil War, Troubles, Brexit

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Second Major

Political Science

First Advisor

Michael Drexler