Writing Wednesdays: Reading poetry

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The death of poetry, like the death of bookstores, is one of those topics that seem to have been kicking around more or less since I was old enough to be alarmed by them: that is, roughly since high school, when T.S. Eliot’s “Wasteland” made me realize that good poetry was not just something pleasant to read but something truly worth engaging, and Barnes & Noble seemed poised to take over the world.

“Death,” of course, should be accompanied by air quotes, or better yet, statistics, but it’s hard to argue with generalizations that feel true. Haven’t we all experienced the closing or near closing of one or more of our city’s most iconic bookstores? And — well, how much poetry do you read these days?

“The dirty secret of poetry is that it is loved by some, loathed by many, and bought by almost no one,” William Logan wrote in last weekend’s Times, and I found myself nodding along. Is this statement truer than it was twenty years ago, or even 35? I have no idea.

What about you? How often do you read (or write) poetry?

One thought on “Writing Wednesdays: Reading poetry

  1. Well, I write quite a lot of poetry, and I do have a book out (and a poem in the recent edition of Louisiana Literature), but I have to agree with Logan that while lots of people like to write it, nobody wants to read it, and that’s why to get a book published you mostly have to have a contest that lots of poets support with reading fees.

    These days I am mostly writing poetry for myself. I do send poems to a magazine (usually an online magazine because there are so few print ones these days), but it’s so competitive, and I don’t know if anyone is reading any poem other than the one he or she wrote. I have a few online magazines bookmarked, but I wonder how many people do.

    These days I think about just starting a blog and getting my readership that way. I have a friend who says that the poems will find their readers if you just put them out there.

    I do read poetry myself, by the way. I love the poems of Will Wright, Matt Spireng, Mary Oliver, Rumi, Darrell Bourque, Jack Bedell, Andrea Hollander Budy, and too many others to mention.

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