At the beginning of this month I spotted an article in the Denver Post newspaper which gave a lackluster viewpoint on the future of poetry in print. It seems that with all the new Nook and Kindle electronic reading devices, poetry has been left in the dust as far as accessibility. Why would any poet want to be published in print ? Interestingly, the author of the article, David Milofsky, had to acquiesce to the fact that most people who are still reading books or collections of poetry want to buy a book with pages you can turn. That is very encouraging to me because it says that poets are still the most visible authors. Perhaps we'll take over the book stores someday. Well, we can dream can't we ?
While Milofsky may be encouraged by the fact that well recognized poets are still being published, with the dubious honors and distinctions which were already in place, the unknowns, who may be better, worse or at least equal to their fellow stars have been using the electronic medium to reach their reading public for going on three decades. I have personally been posting my poetry online for more than a decade now, selling my first edition poetry book, Seasons of the Heart online for almost as long and have enjoyed a certain amount of recognition from common people and people who love poetry all the while. It hasn't made me a publishing superstar yet, but I remind myself that starving poets are legend. It's a shame that people are so ignorant to the fact that they are actually addicted to poetry and they are unaware of it. How so, you say ?
Well, think about all the music with lyrics you listen to in a day. Perhaps you watch a little T.V. each morning before you go to work. I guarantee that you will hear at least several commercials with jingle music on them before you've even had your toast. How about the alarm each morning ? More music, more poetry. Then, when you're driving to work you'll hear anywhere from 5 to 10 songs on the radio along with some more commercial jingles. Pardon me but that's a lot of poetry to listen to before you even get to work. If you have piped in music where you work there's more right there. It's true that much of the elevator and office music may not have lyrics to their MOR washed out noise but if you work in a mall or retail store you're more likely to listen to whatever is the most contemporary to back to the 80s full on with lyrics by the original artists.
As you drive home you'll hear some more from your radio or CDs or MP3s depending on what you have going on in your vehicle. After dinner you'll probably watch shows that all have their own ditties and more music on the shows you watch. You know what ? That's a lot of poetry~ every day. Somebody writes those lyrics for a living. Some may be passable and then there are genius lyrics which elevate our souls and we feel it and may still be unaware of what we are enjoying. Listen to the lyrics of George Harrison's Across the Universe and it will make a believer out of you.
Now that you have been enlightened to your dependence on poetry you will certainly appreciate what you have been enjoying all along a little more now won't you ?
I thought so.
Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
they slither wildly as they slip away
across the universe....
The Castle Lady