“There are three things, after all, that a poem must reach: the eye, the ear, and what we may call the heart or the mind. It is the most important of all to reach the heart of the reader.” — Robert Frost
This Saturday (March 21) is World Poetry Day, a global celebration of reading, writing and listening to poems.
A study in the US has found that poetry is gaining popularity again for the first time in two decades. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, only 6.7% of Americans read poetry in 2012. But the numbers have been climbing steadily, and by 2017 it reached 11.7%.
The rise is particularly noticeable among young people. This is probably thanks to the rise of Instagram poets like Rupi Kaur, a Canadian poet and illustrator who has released two bestselling books. Kaur uses social media to pair short, simple lines of poetry with elegant line drawings.
“and here you are living / despite it all” reads one poem.
“my mother sacrificed her dream / so i could dream” reads another.
Some accused Kaur of oversimplifying and “dumbing down” poetry. Others hail her as a fresh, accessible new voice.
What do you think? Is poetry making a comeback? Who is your favourite poet?
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Watch an animated version of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, a profound poem about where we are going and how we get there. What message is it trying to impart? Can poetry change your perspective on the world?
- What are your favourite lines of poetry? Share with a partner. If you are really struggling, think about song lyrics that you find particularly moving.
- Listen to this satirical poem by the UK’s poet laureate, Simon Armitage. Try writing your own satirical poem in the form of instructions.
- Have a go at writing your own poem, about anything you like. If you want, you could pair it with an illustration.