Why Is Poetry Not Popular Anymore

Primary Reasons why Poetry is Not Popular anymore

Since the 19th century, there has been a drastic decrease in the popularity of poetry. As technology and mass media have become more prevalent, the attention given to poetry has drastically declined. Poetry, once enjoyed as a mode of expressing emotion, has become lost amid all the modern day hustle and bustle of busy lifestyles and entertainment.

This particular medium of writing has been relegated to niche circles, only occasionally reaching a grand scale audience in the form of famous song lyrics and protest songs. In many cases, the audience of poetry is limited by the language barrier, though this speaks more to the leniency of popular media.

In an analysis done by the United Nations Cultural Organisation, statistics show that writers of creative genres such as plays and films have seen a surge in audience size and fame. Poets, however, hardly experience such attention and take much longer to gain recognition from the masses, if ever.

It is no surprise that poets often face difficulties when trying to monetise their craft in some cases, their works are bought cheaply or are used without their permission. With no immediate returns for their craft, the majority of poets forget about the form altogether.

The youth of today, growing up amidst a popular culture with mass media and technology at the apex rarely appreciate poetry. Many of them do not have the opportunity to develop a liking for poetry as there are no sufficient measures taken to introduce them to the craft.

At the same time, due to the established opinion of poetry being sophisticated, they view it as boring and do not bother to explore further. In some rare cases, they may be exposed to a famous poet whose works demand their immediate attention.

Generally, the youth in this day and age are unaccustomed to the beauty of literature and appreciation of subtle nuances. Instead, through television, books, music and games, they are exposed to a much more edgy form of expression.

Lack of Quality Media Coverage

Older forms of media such as newspapers and magazines which used to feature poetry as part of their regular content have virtually become extinct. This results in headlines being flooded with stories pertaining to pop culture entertainment and other popular trends.

The television and radio, those two mediums which people relied on for information for decades, have both reduced their focus on the genre. These days, a poem must be very well written and appealing on the eye, with more focus on the story rather than the technicality of the structure.

What this means is that only exceptional pieces are acknowledged and rewarded with respect. As a result, budding poets often take much longer than music, film or any other form of popular culture.

Most often, these poets have to resort to self-promotion and networking in order to even have a chance at getting some exposure and developing a readership. All of this only further dampens the already dreary condition of poetry.

The gradual extinction of traditional platforms such as the poet’s corner and other printed forms of poetry has meant that the Internet is where most poets are headed. The internet is a great resource for creative minds, and for many poets, it has been a bona fide substitute for the lost romanticism.

Social media, for instance, is great for the exposure of a young, upcoming poet. However what one does not realise is that due to this exigency most poets rush their works and publish without much editing resulting in the production of unexceptional pieces.

Competition from Other Forms of Writing

At schools and universities as well, the value of poetry has been somewhat diminished, paving the way for more practical and important subjects like programming and mathematics. As a result, poetry doesn’t even have the chance to be even taught properly as students are engrossed in the more ‘important’ subjects that will serve as a better base for their future employment prospects.

Gone is the emphasis on beauty, emotion, and allure; in its place is a practical approach towards life and its choices. Thus, poetry, which requires sensitivity and the ability to think beyond conventions, is only seen as an impediment.

In the academic world, even the most enthusiastic and intellectual academics who may have the resources and access to the most exquisite works have their hands full with critical forms of writing, leaving very little energy and attention towards the appreciation of poetry.

Furthermore, other forms of writing such as literature, fiction, and even non-fiction have garnered more fame and visibility, leaving almost no space for poetry to shine. This is not to say that other forms of writing are superior or inferior to poetry, it is simply a fact that those forms of writing require less effort and less technicality to be understood and appreciated.

Lack of Appreciation for Poetry

Poetry is often seen as challenging and accessible to a limited audience. Society’s view of poetry has been shaped by our assumptions of the poet; the stereotype is that of an unapproachable, bohemian figure, an individual lost in the power of their own prose.

This perception is both entwined with preconceived notions about what is and isn’t ‘literature’, as well as a misunderstanding of poetry itself. Those who are unfamiliar with poetry—given their unprecedented access to media and content—seldom give it the chance it needs to captivate them and draw them in.

Many of the claims that ‘poetry is dead’ are not only unfounded, but they’re also somewhat cruel. Without an understanding of what poetry actually is, modernity has fostered a disconnected public, one in which neither literature nor aesthetics have any kind of place.

In spite of this, there are many attempts to make poetry a more universal practice. Spoken word works of both young and established poets have been a runaway hit on platforms such as Youtube, the success of which has gone some way to rejuvenate the popular appeal of poetry.

Many modern day poets are attempting to reach wider audiences by switching over to digital formats like audio recordings, helping people tap into the energy and emotions that can be found in rhythm, meter and rhyme.

Conclusion of the Emerging Digital Era

In the digital age, there are many changes in the way we communicate, interact, and express ourselves. It is no surprise that poetry, traditionally a reserved and highly demanding medium is experiencing a decline as a result.

What we need is for young and aspiring poets to find their own way to make poetry accessible and attractive to a younger generation. It is important to give them a foothold in popular culture and present their work in a way that will connect with the people instead of isolating them.

In the end, it is the poet’s duty to push the boundaries and dismantle any conventional notions that society holds in order to let the beauty and power of poetry reach its maximum potential.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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