Thursday, July 03, 2008
Parini, Jay. "Why Poetry Matters." CHRONICLE June 27, 2008.
Poetry doesn't matter to most people. They go about their business as usual, rarely consulting their Shakespeare, Wordsworth, or Frost. One has to wonder if poetry has any place in the 21st century, when music videos and satellite television offer daunting competition for poems, which demand a good deal of attention and considerable analytic skills, as well as some knowledge of the traditions of poetry. In the 19th century, poets like Scott, Byron, and Longfellow had huge audiences around the world. Their works were best sellers, and they were cultural heroes as well. But readers had few choices in those days. One imagines, perhaps falsely, that people actually liked poetry. It provided them with narratives that entertained and inspired. It gave them words to attach to their feelings. They enjoyed folk ballads, too. In a sense, music and poetry joined hands. In the 20th century, something went amiss. . . . Read the rest here: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=knz7d3nc19g60h47flh19j1pn0dxc4sy.