For the past four to five years, poetry has been enjoying a significant resurgence. But it is a resurgence only when broadly defined, and that means “when including the internet.” The Guardian recently discussed the rise of a new generation of poets fueling the rise, originating on the internet and especially Instagram. Instagram poets, when they collect and publish their work in print form, can sell tens of thousands of copies. Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey sold almost half a million copies.
Not even Billy Collins sells half a million copies of a poetry book.
The Guardian article goes on to point out that the Instagram poets have largely bypassed the familiar poetry gatekeepers – the poetry magazines, poetry societies, and academics who often serve as critics. These poets don’t need Poetry Magazineor the Academy of American Poets to help them sell tens of thousands of copies of their poetry books. The old order somewhat sniffs at the transience of the internet, while the new order runs rather merrily all the way to the bank. The resurgence in poetry has barely touched the traditional poets. We haven’t seen this kind of upheaval in poetry since the modernist poets of the 1910s and 1920s upset the then-traditional poetry cart.
All of this was swirling in my head as I read Some Permanent Things by James Matthew Wilson.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.