“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
Saturday 21 March 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 accuse 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?
Read Our Stories
‘Let me live, love, and say it well...’
Is poetry more vital than ever? A survey has declared Sylvia Plath the most popular poet of all time among teenagers — ahead of William Shakespeare. Meanwhile, poetry readership is surging.
Dispute over bleak message in new war poem
Do we learn anything from history? As Remembrance Day approaches, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s new poem about the First World War suggests we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Poems can be secret weapons, claims new book
Can poems change the world? Today is National Poetry Day, and according to a new book poems can improve our health. Some think poetry is even powerful enough to cause political change.
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 them 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 on any subject you like. If you want, you could pair it with an illustration.