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?