The 6.7%

The survey said that only 6.7% of people ever read poetry. Ever.
I’m not surprised.
It isn’t exactly basketball, or hockey, or even football, either the American version or what everybody else in the world means when they say football. Although they are very different games, the principal appeal for the fans is the same. You can sit around your living room with friends and drink beer and cheer when your team scores.
Nobody does that with poetry. Nobody leaps from their chair and shouts “Shelleeeeey!” “Wordswooooorth!”
It’s not as if poetry was a cute kitten video that everybody could watch and say “awwwww.” Well, maybe some poetry is. If it’s a poem about a kitten, for instance.
It’s not as if poetry was a reality show. If someone doesn’t like a poem, they do not recommend it to their friends, but they don’t try to vote it out of the library.
Poetry is poetry. It requires reading, which is not all that popular any more. It requires quiet reflection, which is at odds with our fast paced lifestyle.
It’s O.K. that we’re only 6.7% If someone wants to be like everyone else, there are plenty of ways for them to express that.


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