The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

Today Is National Poetry Day, But Does It Matter?

Happy Poetry Day! I think. I mean, yeah, it’s National Poetry Day, but who cares, right? I mean, who writes poems anymore anyway?

I want to believe that poetry is more alive now than ever. I mean, more cities hold weekly poetry events, the Individual World Poetry Slam is only a week away. It has to matter, right?

My issue is that Poetry is changing, and while it seems that there is a large audience for performance poetry, it’s a very secluded audience, and it seems to only spread via word-of-mouth. My students don’t know about it unless I mention it. They don’t even associate hip hop with poetry. Frankly, they don’t associate anything with poetry unless prompted. In yesterday’s QOTD, they were asked what THEIR poetry was. They gave some fascinating responses that you can read HERE. While it seems that they at least recognize that poetry exists, they don’t run to it as previous generations did.

Where did we lose poetry? Why is it such a secluded art form?

Jessica Care Moore, a very well-known poet of our generation, told me yesterday that we need to teach poetry that is alive. But what about the masters? Do we ignore Blake, Shelly, Yeats, and Donne? Do we act as if they never existed? What about Langston Hughes, or Slyvia Plath, or Sharon Olds? What poets aren’t “dead?”

I want Poetry to reach out to my students, grab them by their ears, and much like Carolyn Forche’s Colonel, give the “something for their poetry.”

So, happy National Poetry Day. I think.

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

3 comments on “Today Is National Poetry Day, But Does It Matter?

  1. Pingback: Mailbox…. preview | picturemypoetry

  2. Pingback: My Words / Writings / Poetry |

  3. Pingback: Second Day Poetry Festival: Word Sugar Crash by David P. Miller | Oddball Magazine! (jagged thoughts)

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This entry was posted on October 3, 2013 by in COMMENTARY and tagged , , , , .

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