Too Many Writers, Not Enough Readers

Articles like this make me sad for the future of poetry. This article,
The Law of Diminishing Readership, in the Trends section of Poets and Writers magazine by Joseph Bednarik, I think is dead on. While there's a proliferation of MFA programs producing several hundred new poets a year, readership of poetry in the U.S. is steadily declining.

Why the disconnect? The author supposes that people like to write poetry more than read it.

From a practical standpoint, I wonder if colleges and universities are teaching students of literature how to turn their creative interests into liberal arts careers. If you're a poet, can you take a class in how to publish, how to self-publish, how to market yourself, how to start a reading series, or how to develop an online magazine? I don't think things have changed since I graduated from NYU 10 years ago. But I wish there had been a business course available to liberal arts on how to manage money, and to learn how to think of poetry more entrepreneurially.

Nobody like to think of poetry as a business, but it is. The only way poetry, and literature in general, can flourish is if poets who write support the industry: buy a poetry book. But poets need to think about how to turn writers into readers. How can we create more avenues to have the work bought, ultimately, by new audiences? This is not rocket science, just business.


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