Poetry is dead. Christopher Ingraham notes in an article from The Washington Post: “According to the latest numbers, poetry is less popular than jazz. It’s less popular than dance, and only about half as popular as knitting. The only major arts category with a narrower audience than poetry is opera…” Ouch.
People have been writing about the death of poetry for at least a hundred years, which would suggest that it is, indeed, very much alive. What is in the ICU, drawing long rattling breaths like John Keats in Rome, is the buying and selling of poetry collections.
Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over one hundred million copies, but a living poet is considered a raging success if he or she sells 300. That is not a typo. Three hundred copies.
Are you okay with that? Because I would like to gently suggest that this statistic indicates we are in need of a wee attitude adjustment.