Poetry Boom: Sown in the Summer of Our Discontent

There were a few years there when the future of poetry seemed to hang in the balance. Poets still wrote poems/gave readings. But were audiences shrinking? It appeared so while a lot of people seemed to ignore poetry/rolled their eyes.

That was then.

And now? Well, poetry is back in a really big way. And the reason is in the questing of a generation looking for answers in unusual places. From The Guardian:

A passion for politics, particularly among teenagers and young millennials, is fueling a dramatic growth in the popularity of poetry, with sales of poetry books hitting an all-time high in 2018.

Statistics from UK book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan show that sales grew by just over 12% last year, for the second year in a row. In total, 1.3m volumes of poetry were sold in 2018, adding up to £12.3m in sales, a rise of £1.3m on 2017. Two-thirds of buyers were younger than 34 and 41% were aged 13 to 22, with teenage girls and young women identified as the biggest consumers last year.

Rupi Kaur, a 26-year-old Canadian poet with 3.4 million followers on Instagram, leads the bestsellers list and was responsible for almost £1m of sales. “You tell me to quiet down / cause my opinions make me less beautiful,” she writes in Milk and Honey, the No 1 bestselling collection of 2018, “but I was not made with a fire in my belly / so I could be put out.”

The full piece is here. Meanwhile, if you think there should be more poetry in the world and you want to have a hand in that, download the poetry app from the wonderful poetry.org here.

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About Linda L. Richards 63 Articles
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.

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