PHOTO: Heart-shaped lattes are better with a side of poetry, which is slowly becoming less popular.
By Viktoria Anderson,
Every time I read an old novel, I realize how “out of style” the writing of letters and poetry has become. Modern romance has its own beauty for sure, but I think we all have a deep craving for chivalrous acts of affection that are fading fast, especially here on the west coast.
This slow extinction stems from the lack of people’s interest to read poetry and prose, as government data shows.
The national Survey of Public Participation in the Arts shows that in the past 20 years the percent of Americans that have read a poem at least once in a year has fallen by more than half to 6.7 percent.
In another survey the SPPA demonstrated that poetry is less popular than jazz, dance and even knitting. The only arts activity that falls behind poetry is opera, the least contemporary form of them all.
Words are limitless and anyone can be an author unlike singers in opera or dancers in ballet, so why is the art of poetry seemingly going “extinct?” Is it the poets’ fault or the readers’?
From my personal experiences in the poetry world, I have to lay the blame on the latter.
I would say 85 percent of my posts on instagram reach around 300 likes, these most popular varying from ballet photos to any photo with me as its main subject. About nine percent reach around 200 likes and include photos of me and my friends and family, cityscapes, etc. But that last one percent of my posts that reaches around 100 likes or less are, you guessed it, my own words.
This one percent are my most meaningful posts and the people that do like and comment are those I am closest to. In fact, my poetry posts have the greatest numbers of comments on my Instagram.
The point is, those who do not know me as well do not pause their scrolling to read. They see words and skip right over to the next image of a model and some palm trees. It i’s not wrong, it i’s just sad.
Google Trends shows charts since 2004 that show a steady but steep decrease in Google searches involving “poetry” and this is a very accurate representation to people’s changing interests over the past two decades offline as well.
I firmly believe that this lack of support for reading and writing poetry is caused by unawareness of its powers. I have seen the smiles on other students’ faces when they are asked to read their work aloud after the single annual poetry assignment in English class. These are kids that would never sit down to write in their free time but when assigned, it is amazing what we young people have to say.
Words are power. They can change feelings, perceptions, politics and everything in between. So promise me this Valentine’s Day you will write something. The best part is, no one has to see it, but write it anyway.