Perhaps because almost everyone has written bad poetry, and thus there are more poets than poetry readers? Also, because just about everyone has written poetry, poetry bring less of an "awe" factor with it than prose.
Poetry in any case is a tough sell. I'll bet that in the entire U.S. there are only about TWO poets that can make a living off their art.
Edit: What some poets do is include their poems in stories, and sell a collection of stories as literary fiction. That might work for you.
Edited by: Joseph M Erhardt on Dec 19, 2017 11:02 AM
Advertising / Marketing / Product or Package Design
Children Books (Rhyming)
Theatrical Plays / Screenplays / Musicals
... but rarely does poetry by itself sell. You'd have to be prolific with your work (that is, it's everywhere), and your name would have to be attached to it.
If the OP believes their poetry is truly inspiring, then go to coffee shops that cater to it, get on the microphone, and pour your heart and soul out. Create podcasts. An ebook isn't going to deliver the soul of the message, which is carried with voice and physiology. Much, much emotion is lost with just a book. I would be moved by poetry through voice, but certainly not by lines of text.
Even Shakespeare had a harder time selling his poetry than his prose.
Of all the poetry I have ever read - and that is a seriously large number of volumes - there is only one "poem" I can recite without practice or prompting.
I Never Saw a Purple Cow, Ogden Nash if I remember correctly.
I am not sure many parents any longer teach children Nursery Rhymes let alone "Party Pieces".
If it satisfies your creative need to write poetry, do so, and join a poetry group that meets once a month and reads to each other, or accept that it is highly probably no one will ever read/hear your work. If you want to make money with your poetry may I suggest greeting cards or becoming a lyricist. And no, I am not being mean, I am being practical, someone wrote every word ever sung. Every sweet couplet in a greeting card was produced by a poetry minded individual. Epic poetry has been out of fashion a long time now. Romantic poetry takes us right back to the poetry group and the greeting cards.
The poets that died rich are few and far between and most of them inherited their fortune.
(On a percentage basis I suspect the same can be said of prose writers.)
Too many people publish their mind dumps which they call poetry which aren't anything I'd call poetry. We get them all the time on this forum. I look at them and they don't evoke any feeling except why oh why did I look. It's too easy for one million people to put up a five to fifteen page booklet and label it poetry than it is for that same million to write something longer, say one hundred pages, which has a coherent story. Thus, shorter works labeled poetry lose their respectability because people are publishing whether it's good or not. Good being relative, perhaps I should call it enjoyable enough that people want to buy it.
It's not so much that prose is more "acceptable" than poetry but that people just don't like poetry. Unless it's in a greeting card or in a song no one has any interest in a poem. At one time, poetry was popular but the world has moved on. In turn, poetry, plays, articles, short stories and novels have been at the apex of writing. Currently, novels are still very popular, but have been in decline since the Fifties. In terms of remuneration and audience, the form of writing now heading towards the apex is screenwriting. Will poetry make a comeback? Probably not in anybody's lifetime.
Because appreciation of poetry requires a reading culture that does not exist in the modern West. Show me one Western country where national language and literature classes still require students to memorize and recite great poetry. The average Anglophone westerner can't even parse Shakespeare. He's never heard of Byron. "Poetry," to him, is doggerel on a walmart card, or incomprehensible artsy nonsense posing as blank verse on some subway poster. Neither is worth reading.
For the same reason, mindless shoot-em-up action sells better than character-driven action prose, mindless porn sells better than romantic, character-driven love stories, and so on.
The average reader doesn't want to think. The average reader has the emotional depth of a teaspoon, the attention span of a fruit fly. We are all lucky readers still exist at all. The overwhelming majority of the population is wanking off to porn, binge-watching the latest Hollywood drivel on netflix and laughing at kitten videos on youtube. Minus the book-burning firemen, Ray Bradbury has predicted this society quite well.
Blah, I memorized large swaths of Shakespeare to regurgitate it in front of class and was force fed many poets (US here). I did indeed need a translator for Shakespeare because modern language has drifted very far away from that time period and any insults or jokes are completely missed or rendered toothless in this day and age. I still don't find most poetry worth reading. I have Poe and Cummings and that's it. Oh, I enjoyed Rudyard Kipling's poems too.
When I worked sixty plus hours a week, I didn't want to have to think for entertainment since I did that all day. I imagine many other hard working Americans would rather veg out instead of continuing cerebral pursuits. So instead of judging everyone negatively, perhaps there's some other reasons why people want to read easier entertainment. And no insulting kitten videos -- those are cute and we need more love in the world and less hate and misery. Perhaps you should watch a few. You seem down on western society all the time. A little pick me up might help.
Blah, I memorized large swaths of Shakespeare to regurgitate it in front of class and was force fed many poets (US here).
Let me guess, that was in the 1970s? 1980s? Private school, perchance? Also, was recitation about memorization, or was it about instilling comprehension?
Think carefully about the answers, and about what they mean. Understanding poetry is not about cerebral discussion of word forms. Poetry is the highest, and most difficult, form of literature for a reason.
I imagine many other hard working Americans would rather veg out instead of continuing cerebral pursuits.
Yes, lots of people don't want to think for entertainment because thinking, to them, is work. Not limited to Americans. Millenials actually read more than any of the three generations before them. The reading just happens to be tweets and facebook posts. And that is also about education...
I am not down on the West per se, in this case. The trends are universal. The West simply happens to be our primary market here, so it is most disheartening in the case of the West.
You think so? Don't get him started - you don't know the half of it!
But there's more than a grain of truth in what Moshe says. I taught poetry for many years, and it was always the hardest sell to students. But get it right and you could see it changing lives. I never saw fiction that could make students cry - apart from maybe The Red Pony to year 8 - but great poetry did on a few occasions. There is a silence that comes after hearing the best poetry read aloud that comes after nothing else.
But it's hard work, getting the best out of language charged with meaning to the highest degree, and it takes time. And these days, teachers have targets to meet.