Poetry Matters

Posted on

Jul 21 2014

In the Opinion Pages of the New York Times on July 20, 2014, seven poets were asked to respond to the question, "Does poetry matter?"  

Perhaps no other art form is asked to defend its value, impact, relevance, and existence as often as poetry. Through the centuries poets have explained how poetry connects us to ourselves. With a mastery of language and its possibilities, poets elevate the material of everyday communication to art that requires reflection and contemplation, and ultimately elucidates our location in the world.

As the poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, "If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger."

At the Academy of American Poets it's clear to us that while this may elude some, we're actually having a poetry boom. Not only is poetry alive in the United States, many millions of people are reading and sharing poems online. Poetry may be the art most suited for mobile technology. And, hundreds of thousands of people are attending and participating in poetry readings, workshops, conferences, slams, and festivals each year.

We have rounded up some quantitative examples to demonstrate how poetry matters in the United States: