Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Numbers trouble?

Al Filreis's response to an interviewer who asked him to comment on the decline in readership of poetry:

I think I don't agree with the premise here. I think there is a huge readership of poetry. The problem is that it's not coherent, no longer trackable (through book sales, etc.), and doesn't fit existing categories. My sense is that despite cliches to the contrary, poetry is very much alive and well. The usual hyperbolic lament - that there are more poets than readers - only underscores how the writer/reader relationship is now complex and merged.

I was asked to comment on the same thing, by a reporter for a big newspaper - doing a story for National Poetry Month, natch.  As evidence of decline, he said, "When I go into a Barnes and Noble, the poetry shelves have very few books, and bookstores have pretty much the same few poetry books wherever you go."  I replied that bookstores are dying, not poetry...