Poetry Information

Poetry and Popular Culture


Is poetry too complicated for the average reader? Is it too cryptic, scholarly? If you ask a large group of average people what they like or don't like about poetry, you'll get a few different answers, but there is an overwhelmingly common category of responses.

One of the main reasons that people say they aren't addicted to contemporary poetry is that they feel it is too cryptic. The language, they say, isn't tangible. Despite the fact that there are a great many contemporary poets out there writing and performing poetry that appeals to the non-cryptic taste of many would-be enthusiasts, this poetry isn't highly visible in the popular media.

The second reason that some people say they aren't interested in poetry is that their idea of poetry is based on the old classical stuff they were forced to read in high school. Who can relate to 'thee' and 'thou?' People feel that poetry is an abstract language that has very little relevancy to the modern world.

So, what is out there, and why don't people bother with it? The answer is that, for a very long time, poetry has been seen as a literary playground directed toward other players. Publishers recognize that poetry doesn't sell very well, and so, they are apprehensive about publishing a great many books of poetry. The problem, though, is that while there may or may not be a market for poetry, no one really knows for sure. In short, no one is making an effort to shove it into mainstream media.

Perhaps if people knew the kinds of poems being talked about in the literary circle by poets such as Ted Kooser, Louise Gluck, or many of the other poets (yes, there are poets who are still living, thank you), then maybe the people would be a little more apt to purchase a book or two of poetry.

What Can You Do to Help Popularize Poetry?

  • You can offer to subscribe to contemporary poetry journals for a local high school. Remember, one of the reasons people don't drool over poetry is that they haven't been exposed to what's available.
  • You can start an open mic poetry reading at your local bookstore or library.
  • Volunteer at a local school to help students write and publish their own literary journal.
  • Donate poetry books by contemporary poets to your library or school.
  • BUY SOME POETRY!! If you love to write poetry, one of the best ways to develop your skills (and even find markets for your poetry), is to buy and read poetry by other conemporary poets. When you buy a book of poetry, you are contributing to the market. The more people go out and buy books of poetry, the more popular the market will become.
  • Start a local writer's group, and make a point to discuss some of the works by conemporary poets.
  • Start a literary journal, and emphasize works by poets that would appeal to a general audience, rather than only to other poets.
  • Devrie Paradowski is a freelance writer and poet. She is serious about getting poetry into popular culture. She recently published a book of poetry, "A Ray Squeezed Through," in an effort to promote her new literary journal, "LE Quarterly." Her book can be found on Amazon.com, and at http://www.Lulu.com/devrie . Visit the literary journal at http://www.literaryescape.com/journal


    MORE RESOURCES:
    Curating an LGBT version of the Poetry Jukebox  The Irish Times

    This project represents the first 'anthology' of LGBT writing on this island.


    Dave Lucas: What makes a poem poetry?  Canton Repository

    What makes poetry poetry?Ask a dozen people and you'll get as many different answers, maybe more. Some won't be much help: “Poetry is the sort of thing ...


    Poetry Meets the Moment(s)  The New York Times

    The Book Review's poetry editor, Gregory Cowles, discusses Tracy K. Smith's essay about political poetry and more from this week's special issue.


    Viral verse: Poets of Instagram inject new life, fresh voices into poetry genre  CBC News

    Poetry is having a renaissance thanks to a generation of young, accessible writers breathing new life into the literary form via Instagram.


    Poetry spot: 'Croak' by Sawyer Elms  AZCentral

    Poetry spot is part of a collaboration with local poets to bring poetry closer to the center of our everyday lives.


    He’s a Legend of Contemporary Poetry. There’s Finally a Volume of His Collected Work.  The New York Times

    In poems that cajole, beguile, praise and evoke, Robert Bly makes the case that poetry should be near the center of life.


    Bertolt Brecht: Poet and Communist  The New York Times

    The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht,” translated and edited by Tom Kuhn and David Constantine, brings together more than 1000 poems.


    Political Poetry Is Hot Again. The Poet Laureate Explores Why, and How.  The New York Times

    Tracy K. Smith, the United States poet laureate, looks at the ways poetry has dealt with the shifting political landscapes of the past two decades.


    Two New Volumes by Adrienne Rich, Game-Changing Feminist, Poet and Essayist  The New York Times

    Selected Poems: 1950-2012,” and “Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry,” are laden with insights that, six years after Rich's death, remain as ...


    For an Ohio Poet, Love Is What Gets Us Through  The New York Times

    Marcus Jackson's collection “Pardon My Heart” celebrates the way deep emotion unfogs and energizes the experience of living.


    Can Poetry Help Us Create Meaning Out Of Despair?  wgbh.org

    Poet Richard Blanco highlighted his favorite works by poet Ada Limón, which are united by a common theme of searching for meaning in "seeming oblivion."


    A Poet Takes Aim at the Literary and Political Patriarchy  The New York Times

    In Anne Waldman's latest collection, “Trickster Feminism,” her verses argue on behalf of collective expression — and collective responsibility.


    Annapolis writer Grace Cavalieri named poet laureate of Maryland  CapitalGazette.com

    Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Grace Cavalieri, of Annapolis, to be Maryland's new poet laureate.


    Award-winning poet Ted Blodgett overflowed with inspiration  The Globe and Mail

    Poetic inspiration could strike Ted Blodgett at any time. While he was sitting at a concert, for instance, or in the bathtub. He would then have to get up and ...


    Zayed honoured through art, poetry and music  gulfnews.com

    Competition winners pay rich tributes to UAE's founding father.


    On learning to love yourself through poetry  The Boston Globe

    The first collection by National Slam Poetry winner Melissa Lozada-Oliva of Newton is “Peluda.''


    The best Canadian poetry of 2018  CBC.ca

    2018 was a great year for books. Here are CBC Books's top 12 Canadian works of poetry that came out this year.


    Francis: A Life in Songs by Ann Wroe review – the saint’s life in poetry  The Guardian

    Among the stranger moments in the saga that is Brexit was Michael Gove's suggestion that Theresa May, “our first Catholic prime minister”, is insufficiently ...


    Elena Ferrante: ‘If people still told their stories in verse, I would be too embarrassed to write’  The Guardian

    I grew up with the idea that being a poet is for truly exceptional people, while anyone can have a go at prose. Maybe it was the fault of my school, which instilled ...


    Mahoso reignites love for poetry  NewsDay

    ZIMBABWE Media Commission chief executive Tafataona Mahoso has rekindled his love for poetry with a collection that touches on a raft of issues, including ...


    Meng Lang, Poet Who Promoted Dissident Writers, Dies at 57  The New York Times

    Meng Lang, a poet who promoted Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, along with other dissident Chinese writers, died on Dec. 12 in Hong Kong.


    The Best Poetry of 2018  The New York Times

    The Book Review's poetry columnist, David Orr, picks 10 collections worth your attention.


    Hollywood Has Long Turned to Novelists for Help. But Poets?  The New York Times

    In her new film “The Kindergarten Teacher,” Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a frustrated aspiring poet who discovers that a boy in her kindergarten class may be a ...


    Lawson Inada's poetry distills cultural heritage  Statesman Journal

    Poets are chroniclers. Through careful distillation, they put into a few words what scholars take tomes to relate.


    Can't Find Time To Read? Poetry Might Make The Perfect Gift  NPR

    Poet Tess Taylor says a good poem can "reroute your day" in under five minutes. She offers suggestions for poetry that "takes you to a different place, and then ...


    The importance of poetry and reading between the lines  The Guardian

    Letters: Mary Gameson wants to see poetry on our front pages, while Joan Lewis looks into Sats results and reading ability.


    Meena Alexander, Poet Who Wrote of Dislocation, Dies at 67  The New York Times

    Meena Alexander, a poet and scholar whose writings reflected the search for identity that came with a peripatetic life, including time in India, Africa, Europe and ...


    Winter Event Series: Voices of the season~Holiday Poetry and Prose  Fairfield Daily Republic

    Sun, Dec 16, 2018 – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm McCune Room, John F. Kennedy Library 505 Santa Clara St. Vallejo. Related. ShareTweet. Published December 16 ...


    Forget Beatnik Cliches: A Fresh Style of Jazz and Poetry is Brewing  KQED

    It's taken more than five decades, but *fresh* jazz/poetry collaborations have finally shaken the tired cliches festering in the zeitgeist since the Beat movement of ...


    Dear Damian Hinds, please stop wrecking poetry for children  The Guardian

    Do you like poetry? I do. It's an art form that can entertain, provoke, console, reflect, observe and much more. A breakthrough for me was at primary school when ...


    Poet Michael Robbins offers picks for best poetry collections of 2018  Chicago Tribune

    Poet and critic Michael Robbins offers his picks for best poetry collections of 2018, from a debut by Vanessa Couto Johnson to a new translation of Bertolt Brecht.


    How to See the Poetry in Plants  Atlas Obscura

    Researchers who work in tropical rain forests often speak of the hassles of it all: Whacking through dense vegetation is tricky, especially when you're lugging ...


    Must-reads for kids: from illustrations to poetry to opinions  OurWindsor.ca

    DoorBy JiHyeon Lee (Chronicle, 56 pages, $25.50, ages 3 to 6)


    Complicated, Challenging 'Revolution Sunday' Mixes Prose And Poetry  NPR

    Cuban writer Wendy Guerra has lived under surveillance in her home country, and she works that experience into her intense new novel about a young poet in ...


    Is contemporary poetry really in 'a rotten state' - or just a new one?  The Guardian

    Rose Tremain and Robin Robertson have criticised poets for abandoning 'craft' – but that argument silences the possibilities offered by new voices.


    Poetry Twitter Erupts over a Plagiarist in Their Midst  Vulture

    Ailey O'Toole tattooed a poem onto her skin from her Puschart Prize-nominated poem “Gun Metal.” It turns out she'd stolen those words from Rachel McKibbens.


    One poet’s advice for feeling at home in the unfamiliar  PBS NewsHour

    The pages of Jenny Xie's first poetry collection will take you places. Bouncing from Vietnam to New York, reading “Eye Level” feels like leaning your head ...


    Poems About Loss That Shatter Meaning and Borders  The New York Times

    Be With,” by Forrest Gander, plumbs death and grief with an alertness to the fragility of life — and of language.


    Poetry spot: 'Teeth of Our House' by Jennifer Conlon  AZCentral

    Poetry spot is part of a collaboration with local poets to bring poetry closer to the center of our everyday lives.


    On Poetry: Finding the spirit of holiness | Local News  Traverse City Record Eagle

    I know, I know, not all of us are Christians. The poet himself was Jewish. But it seems like this poem, this story, opens itself to multiple cultures. The story.


    Instagram poets make me ask: What is good poetry?  America Magazine

    If one more Instagram poet tells me how to feel or what to think, I am going to lose my mind. I was bursting to scream this as I read through Nikita Gill's book of ...


    From an Iconoclast and an Icon, Poems of Personal and Public Transformation  The New York Times

    In “Evolution,” Eileen Myles makes us reconsider the nature of experience and imagination.


    Listen: Poetry in Atlanta shows another side of city culture  Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Listen now or open in iTunes or Google Play: Atlanta poet Ryan Jones may have felt defea...


    Luciana Souza's New Recording, "The Book of Longing" Translates Poetry into Jazz  Forbes

    On her new recording, “The Book of Longing,” Luciana Souza marries poetry and Jazz in an idiom all her own with spare accompaniment and her uniquely ...


    Prize-nominated poet's debut cancelled as plagiarism accusations build  The Guardian

    Several authors have accused Ailey O'Toole of using their poems to write her own, including the Pushcart-nominated Gun Metal. Alison Flood. Thu 6 Dec 2018 ...


    A Poetry Collection That Opens Up Like a Cabinet of Curiosities  The New York Times

    J. Michael Martinez's “Museum of the Americas” takes on the white gaze, colonial trauma and Mexican migration.


    Fayette students take top placements at Clemson poetry competition  The Citizen.com

    Foreign language students are celebrating after conquering the competition at the 2018 Clemson University Poetry Declamation Contest. Fayette County ...


    Poetry in motion along Monroe Street - WISC  Channel3000.com - WISC-TV3

    All six Madison poet laureates are represented in a Madison Arts Commission project that has embedded 12 poems, two from each poet, in the sidewalks along ...


    Robin Robertson: ‘Writing poetry has very little to do with the intellect’  The Guardian

    The Scottish poet and editor on defying conventions of genre, the elusive nature of what he does, and the importance of external validation.


    UW Researcher Promotes Use Of Poetry In Science  Wyoming Public Media

    A paper published in BioScience looks at how poetry can be used to teach scientific concepts and how researchers can use poetry to gain a new perspective.


    North Pole Poet Laureate Amy Marschak Spreads Christmas Cheer, Poems  Westword

    Amy Marschak has assumed the mantle of the official North Pole Poet Laureate, and she's pulling plenty of poems out of Santa's bag. “The job of a poet laureate ...


    Two Canadian collections make New York Times' top 10 poetry picks  TheChronicleHerald.ca

    NEW YORK — Two Canadian poets have made the New York Times Book Review's list of the best poetry collections of 2018. Richard Sanger of Toronto was ...


    A Debut Poet Confronts the Sexual Violence of an Earlier Generation  The New York Times

    In “A Cruelty Special to Our Species,” Emily Jungmin Yoon memorializes the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into prostitution during World War II.


    First time out: Debut poetry by Duy Doan, Chanda Feldman, July Westhale  San Francisco Chronicle

    Opening Duy Doan's debut poetry collection, “We Play a Game” (Yale University Press; $20), we enter an elusive world of syllables and animals, where past and ...


    Jazz Pianist Helen Sung On Poetry, Being Asian-American And The Debt She Owes Harry Connick Jr.  WBUR

    As a student at the University of Texas Austin, pianist and composer Helen Sung was set on a classical career. But when she saw Harry Connick Jr. play at a ...


    Of bridges and buses: Photographs & poetry from the U.S.-Mexico border  Santa Fe New Mexican

    Lawrence Welsh reads from Cutting the Wire: Photographs and Poetry from the US-Mexico Border at Garcia Street Books, 376 Garcia St., 505-986-0151, 5 p.m. ...


    Our favourite books of the year, and prose poetry with Claudia Rankine – books podcast  The Guardian

    On this week's show, we reveal the books we loved most in 2018 and discuss the future of prose poetry with poets Rankine, Jeremy Noel-Tod and Emily Berry.


    Monday's Google Doodle Honors Poet Nelly Sachs  Forbes

    Monday's Google Doodle honors poet and playwright Nelly Sachs, who escaped from Nazi Germany in 1940 and gave a voice to the horrors of the Holocaust ...


    American Life in Poetry: ‘The Girl from Panama’ by Clemens Starck  The Spokesman-Review

    Clemens Starck of Oregon has 50 years' experience working with his hands, as a merchant seaman and then a carpenter, and he knows work and working ...


    Road-Tripping With California's Poet Laureate (Who Helped Invent The Jello Jiggler!)  LAist

    California poet laureate Dana Gioia made it his goal to visit all 58 counties in California. He made most of those trips in his 10-year-old car. (Carla Javier/LAist).


    Lemn Sissay’s Superkids — can poetry help troubled minds?  Financial Times

    “They're thought of as intrinsically bad,” says poet Lemn Sissay, referring to children in care. I would have thought most people would realise that such children ...


    In Recent Poetry Collections, Weapons Made of Words  The New York Times

    In these four deeply political, deeply personal books, poets grapple with some hot-button issues of the day.


    Cut & Paste: Justin Phillip Reed's poetry is haunted by St. Louis history  St. Louis Public Radio

    Justin Phillip Reed's writing career has gotten off to an extraordinary start. Following a chapbook in 2016, this year he published his first collection of poetry ...


    A Puschart Prize-Nominated Poet Has Been Accused Of Plagiarism By Numerous Poets  Bustle

    Another literary prize, another scandal. Poet Rachel McKibbens, whose latest collection, blud, came out earlier this year, has accused Pushcart Prize-nominee ...


    Why poetry is always perfect for primary  TES News

    From On the Ning Nang Nong to Benjamin Zephaniah's Talking Turkeys, there is just about a poem for every day in primary.


    The Worst Bad Poem? There’s a Contest for That  The New York Times

    There was expectation in the room that someone would deliver a poem as lovely as a tree. Or not. The expectation was about choosing the worst of the worst ...


    When Church Language Fails Us, We Resist With Poetry  Sojourners

    Note: A version of this essay was given as a talk at Women Doing Theology 2018, at the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary on November 9, 2018 in ...


    Anchorage Museum archives earthquake with viral memes, Twitter poetry  Alaska Public Radio Network

    How do you measure the impact of a natural disaster? After the devastating Good Friday earthquake in 1964, archivers collected print newspaper headlines, ...


    The power of poetry to bring different cultures closer  Daily News & Analysis

    The power of poetry to bring different cultures closer - It will be hard for people living today to believe that his sole subject of discourse was Tamil poetry.


    American Life in Poetry: ‘Estelle’  The Spokesman-Review

    Alaska Quarterly Review put out a special double issue late in 2017 to celebrate its 35th year, a very long tenure for a literary magazine. Among the many fine ...


    Bethel names first poet laureate  Danbury News Times

    BETHEL — Bethel's new poet laureate finds that it's the experiences that hit close to home for a writer that tend to be the most relatable to others. “In poetry, I ...


    The Poetry of Rhina Espaillat  New England Public Radio

    Ginetta Candelario, Professor of Sociology and of Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Smith College was Tertulia's guest on November 25, 2018. She spoke.


    Poet Tracy K. Smith, winner of Hall-Kenyon Prize, to appear in New Hampshire  The Laconia Daily Sun

    CONCORD — United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is the 2018 winner of the Hall-Kenyon Prize in American Poetry, honoring the late Donald Hall and ...


    City players show off their poetry skills!  Manchester City FC

    Manchester City players visit local school as part of Premier League writing stars.


    Quarto's chapbook event hosts a propelling performance of poetry  CU Columbia Spectator

    Quarto Magazine, a student-run literary magazine, performed the works of the top three chapbook contest contributors at their annual chapbook event last Friday ...


    Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Nutley Poetry Festival is Coming, Woo Hoo!  TAPinto.net

    NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley children will each write a poem, you're invited to listen and know 'em, about cats in hats, baseballs and bats, and you can attend this ...


    Sheffield’s first hip-hop poet laureate: 'gone are the days of tradition'  The Guardian

    The poet appointed by lord mayor Magid Magid to champion creative arts wants to change the face of poetry.


    Paul Andersen: The poetry of a snowy winter day  Aspen Times

    Descent in a Snow Storm”He clicks his boxy boots into bindings/And glides off down the steepening hill./The snow is white, the wind is blinding/His tracks they ...


    Oklahoma woman expresses herself through poetry  The State

    An Oklahoma woman is expressing herself through poetry.


    Tokyo meeting reviews Persian, Japanese poetry  Tehran Times

    TEHRAN – The Iranian Embassy in Tokyo organized a meeting on Saturday to discuss the similarities and differences between Persian and Japanese poetry.


    Free Poetry Skool @ Downtown Public Library  Boulder Weekly

    Poets gather like words on a page scribed in their own handwriting. as illustrious lines they embody poetic form — such as , a tercet , perhaps —. where this ...


    Theater review: 'Dear Elizabeth' a captivating story of love,...  Duluth News Tribune

    A love story told in letters from two brilliant but damaged poets seems an unlikely topic for an engaging, comic and tragic play. Yet so it is, with Sarah Ruhl's ...


    Poetry on a Budget  New York Times

    In Sullivan County, N.Y., an architect set out to build the bare minimum of a rural retreat: a pared-down house with soul.


    The ultimate gift: Iowa teacher pens book of poetry for his mother  Des Moines Register

    At age 10, John Thompson promised himself he'd write a book about his mom. Now 55, he did — and giving it to her was among the "happiest" moments.


    The best poetry books of 2018  The Irish Times

    Our critics choose works by Mahon, Jamie, O'Sullivan and others.


    Pushcart-Nominated Poet Accused of Plagiarizing Multiple Peers  Jezebel

    Earlier this week, Twitter was full of up-and-coming writers celebrating their Pushcart Prize nominations. The Pushcart, which honors works published by small ...


    Maya C. Popa Joins 'PW' as Poetry Reviews Editor  Publishers Weekly

    Maya C. Popa has joined Publishers Weekly as its new poetry reviews editor, effective immediately. Popa succeeds Alex Crowley in the post and will be ...


    Chronicling his times on Earth through poetry and hikes  Minneapolis Star Tribune

    There is poetry everywhere James Marshall Goff treks. His first book is a collection of selected poems, “Hiking in the Universe,” which Goff admits to getting ...


    A Fresh Look at How Poets Evolve Over the Course of a Career  The New York Times

    In “We Begin in Gladness,” the poet and critic Craig Morgan Teicher considers poets from W.S. Merwin to francine j. harris, in light of changes in their language ...


    Poetry spot: 'Anarchy on the Edge of a Hairline' by Ernesto L. Abeytia  AZCentral

    Poetry spot is part of a collaboration with local poets to bring poetry closer to the center of our everyday lives.


    Column | The Poetry of Reality  Daily Californian

    Last summer I saw myself in a test tube. Watching my amateur-ly extracted DNA swirling in a glass tube, I remember panicking at the enormity of the situation.


    Poetry reading is on the upswing (opinion)  Inside Higher Ed

    We are not living in the end times for the arts, even if public arts and humanities institutions in the United States remain criminally underfunded, writes Eric ...


    'I Write Where I Want To Be': Spoken Word Poet Andrea Gibson  WUWM

    Andrea Gibson 's poetry covers a wide spectrum of topics, including gender, love, loss, family and mental health. Their (Gibson prefers the they/their/them.


    Earl Sweatshirt: Some Rap Songs review – powerful, emotional poetry  The Guardian

    Cut-up beats are a foil for candid reflections on the artist's battles with drugs and depression, with moving moments of parental reconciliation.


    'Once Upon a Star' Is a Poetic Exploration of the Cosmos  Space.com

    James Carter would be the first to admit that he is a children's book writer, not a scientist. "I wrote 'Once Upon a Star' very much as a starry-eyed poet, not an ...


    Five Things: Poet Maggie Smith, Author Of 'Good Bones,' On Success After Going Viral  89.3 WFPL News Louisville

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    A Pop-up Reading of Black Poetry at the Brooklyn Museum  Hyperallergic

    This weekend, the Brooklyn Museum will host a Pop-up Poetry event featuring readings by three Cave Canem fellows. Deena ElGenaidiNovember 26, 2018.


    Okie from Muskogee: Steward finds herself through poetry  Muskogee Daily Phoenix

    Two things have long weighed on Jessica Steward's heart — serving her country and sharing her emotions. She said she had wanted to be in the military for as ...


    I Name This Body MINE poetry night in Ann Arbor on Dec. 15  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

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    Poet Natasha Trethewey's new collection 'soars,' says NYT  Northwestern University NewsCenter

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