Monday, February 28, 2011

You can't read it if you can't find it

Thinking about why people don't read poetry anymore.  When I was a kid, nearly every women's magazine carried poetry, tucked away in odd spots, so even though you might be reading a very good serialized story by Willa Cather, here was a poem by someone you never heard of, or someone you had, like May Sarton, or Robert Graves,  and often they would be so amazing you found yourself cutting them out of the magazine to save and to savor.  I had a whole small scrapbook just for things like that.  And in magazines of the 20s and 30s and later, there was always a full section devoted to a serial novel, several very long short stories, and a dozen poems, often. 
It was there, and you read it. Not tucked away in a precious lit mag that required a subscription and often could not be found anywhere else.  It was accessible.  It was written to be read, not to impress other poets.

One by one those markets dried up,  and now people say, well, I love poetry, but I can't find it anywhere.
It's the law of diminishing returns. You cant find it, because fewer and fewer newsstand magazines carry it,
and their excuse is, well, no one READS it anymore...sigh.

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