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Is Poetry Dead!?

Updated on August 17, 2015

Poetry is dead, when I’m dead!

Can you imagine the world without plays, music, movies, even social media? But I can't imagine a world without poems. I find it tragic that no one I know has cracked open a book of poetry in so long and that I, who spent hours reading old-fashioned and contemporary poets like Lowell and Berryman, can no longer even name a living poet.

I remember writing poems in High School, unlike some of my classmates hated it, making it hopeless in literature classes that surfaced annually with the same hopelessness’ as the physical education. Just as I was a horrible athlete who absolutely detested the Summer Solstice, I was an avid reader who enjoyed rhymed writing. Digging up through tangled innuendo, I wondered why poets couldn't just say what they meant in simple words.

Then when I went to college at some point got it. Maybe it was when I had a crush with some boy that I got inspired to write and rhymed. Or maybe it happened when I read Gabriel García Márquez. Then for the next 10 years or so, I was hooked. I read poetry, wrote it and recited verse to impress my crushes.

And then my interest waned. On the surface, I suppose because got married, had children, pursued my career, bought a house. With apologies to Márquez, began to find more facts of existence. Society, too, was changed to "Get Rich Quick", specifically designed to improve our existence; then poets died or faded from our view. By the '90s, it was all over. If you doubt this statement, consider that poetry Literary works with special intensity given to the feelings and ideas creating it far greater than the number of people appreciating it.

I find that, these days must societies lack consciousness and assurance. People don't have the time or the patience to read a poem 5 times before it makes sense. We want chronicle forms, stand-alone stories that don’t require an understanding of the larger context and saving us the time to be profoundly. I, too, want celerity and preferring illustrations with short descriptions. I am part of a world that loves the trendy, and poetry is just about as non-trendy as it gets. I want to read books about pop-culture and green politics I guess--in part because I make my living as a ghostwriter. I became lazy, with no time for poetry.

In my worst moments, I guess I blame it to the mainstream media, the Internet, the fast-food mentality. If it weren't for the influence of blah, blah, blah... Ultimately, though, there's no one to blame. Poetry was designed for an era when people had the extra time and valued the significance of expression, craft and profoundness in its highest form. I really do believe that poetry is the highest form of writing. Read Thomas's "Fern Hill," more about him on bellows link) and you'll experience the true power of art. The minute you start reading it touches our hearts that movie-makers can only dream of.

April is National Poetry Month, a fact I know only because it was noted in my daughter's school newsletter. I celebrated by finding out the name of American poets like Walt Whitman and read just one of his poems. It may not be enough, but I have television shows to watch, best sellers to read and Web sites to visit and build before I go to sleep.

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