Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Hmm …

… Poetry is going extinct, government data show - The Washington Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… since 2004, the share of all Google searches involving "poetry" has fallen precipitously. Today, poetry searches account for only about one fifth of the total search volume they accounted for ten years ago.
I wonder how many people were doing Google searches a dozen years ago in comparison to how many do them today. Maybe the decline reflects that more people are on the internet now than before and that more of the people back then were interested in poetry. Certainly a lot of people are writing poetry, and one assumes that those who write it read it. Also, are we talking about poetry in general or new poetry?
Many, many years ago, there was actually a TV special — on a Sunday night, I believe, in prime time — in which various actors performed poetry. Hurd Hatfield did an unforgettable performance of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." More such might bring the value of poetry to more people's attention. I can imagine a show like that devoted to, say, The Spoon River Anthology. I suspect a lot of people would be surprised and pleased by that — because it would be so different from what they may tend to think poetry is. Maybe somebody should start a poetry channel and give actors a chance to strut their stuff performing verse.

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