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The Popularity of Prose and Poetry: A Disparity

There is great unbalance between the popularity of works of prose and works of poetry in today’s world. Everyone and their mother has read a novel or two, and you might even hear them recommend one. Poetry, on the other hand, seems to be something hidden from mainstream conversation and even recognition. I can go on naming celebrated contemporary authors and novelists, while the only poet I can think of as being worthy of "celebrity" status is Billy Collins. That is not to say that there are not skilled or renowned poets today, but it seems that neither they nor their work are nearly as recognized. Why might this be?

  • I'm curious about this too. I'm an English major, and I regularly read novels for fun, but I almost never do that with poetry. I don't know if it's because poetry is just plain harder to read than novels (and has that always been a thing? or is it just a modern development?), but maybe also because of one being seen as more "academic." Most people's first introduction to a novel is something fun like Magic Treehouse, but most people first introduction to poetry is probably like analyzing sonnets in high school English class. I actually hadn't even read anything by Billy Collins until this summer - and that was because I had a friend give me a collection of his poems, and I just decided to read it for fun. It probably also has something to do with the fact that novels 'feel' more accessible because they're more similar to film and other modes of storytelling, but also because poetry isn't even really concerned with storytelling a lot of the time? – thekellyfornian 5 years ago
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  • This is awesome, I love this topic. It is extremely unbalanced in todays world, and I frequently hear people saying they don't write or read poetry because it is "too difficult", or they think it's silly. I see a lack of appreciation in some readers and even writers. I am sad to see it is not being recognized in contemporary culture, so I would be interested to see where someone takes this. – emilyinmannyc 5 years ago
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  • it is because of strong and rich prose fiction of your culture. novels, short stories, and drama they have really strong annals but in my country poetry is so strong and rich all of the people know about poets and poetry even though the ancient ones.they memorize poems but they know less about prose. as I know ancient cultures have rich poetry history. it will be more amazing, if you consider these points that I have mentioned. – Elahe Almasi 5 years ago
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  • This really, really needs to be addressed!! – Tessnoonan 5 years ago
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  • Poetry tends to be difficult to understand. It requires more patience than prose. Social media has shrunk our attention spans, making it less likely that people will read anything, let alone poetry, which typically must be read several times to fully appreciate it. – JLaurenceCohen 5 years ago
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  • Good topic! I would like to think about "reading poetry" under the influence of interpretation. How the interpretation (poetry critique, texts trying to explain poems...) can ruin or help our interest on poetry? – laricouto 5 years ago
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  • It is confusing....If social media has shrunk our attention spans, I would think that poetry (rather than novels) would fit that medium. It just isn't taken seriously.MUSIC is.Poetry has become more of personal expression, rather than a storytelling medium as someone else mentioned. That could have something to do with it. – Candice Evenson 5 years ago
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  • Poetry in books and on the page may not still have the popularity they used to, but I think the rise of slam poetry is something worth noting. – MichelleAjodah 5 years ago
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