top of page

Poetry Is Dying??

     This article, through survey research, claims that the readership of poetry is declining at such a swift rate, that the genre of poetry is essentially dying. However, I would call into question these statistics. For one, I, nor have my fellow Literature majors, ever taken part in such a survey. It leads one to question not only who is being polled, but how as well. Respondent rates for surveys can have large margins for error. Not to mention, taking survey research from secondary sources leaves many unanswered questions. How was the question stated? Who was being asked? In what context? What did the respondents consider "poetry?"

      For one, many average Americans have one standard idea of poetry: the stuffy, hard to read Shakespearean sonnets they were forced to read in high school. Some respondents may not even realize they've actively been engaging in poetry- listening to spoken word, reading rap lyrics, engaging with blogs that post non-traditional poetry, reading zines or even some fan fictions. Poetry is an ever expanding genre, and many may not know that what they're consuming even is poetry. 

     Basing this assumption off of internet searches isn't an entirely accurate indicator, either. Like many people my age, I am active on social media. On many media sites, poetry accounts are thriving. This means that people aren't specifically searching for the word "poetry" on google, which the article says lack of that specific search is indicative of the dying genre. I've also seen personally a resurgence in love for indie, used book stores- in which more younger generations are going back to the traditional consumption of literature. In these book stores there are still large sections of poetry, in which I've seen a heightened interest for. This article doesn't take into account people who own physical copies of poetry.

     Also, it fails to take into consideration the younger generations that were probably not polled. Though poetry readership could have declined in older generations, it is still thriving amidst people my age. Many poets are reaching enough popularity with my generation to even appear on late night talk shows, like Rupi Kaur on Jimmy Fallon. If anything, this appreciation for poetry amidst younger folks will ensure that the genre of poetry doesn't "die."

     But can a genre ever truly die? Though it may fall out of popularity for a few years, even a few decades, it can always simply come into the mainstream again. Poetry has proven itself to be extremely malleable- changes from traditional, strict verse to the more diverse expanse of the modernized genre has more than proven that. It's easy to track the changes in the genre alongside changes in society. For example, the first waves of feminism bore a new type of poetry- poetry that was less strict with verse, more stark, and unapologetic. It experimented with form daringly in the same way women were challenging societal norms. Poetry is intensely personal to those who write it and to their audiences, which is exactly why it will forever be able to shift and change as society does, thus ensuring it won't ever really be able to "die."

bottom of page