Congrats to all the BCR Contest Winners. But Backwards City isn't the only place handing out prizes these days. Why, just look at the United States and their new poet laureate in this NY Times Blog "On Paper."
The article muses on the political stance of the new PL, Charles Simic, and speculates that his past public statements might make him a more vocal critic of the Bush administration. Though I have great respect for Simic's work and his political views, I think this overestimates the esteem and influence of the position of poet laureate.
There has been a serious decline in literary reading in the United States in recent years. In 2004 the National Endowment for the Arts released a survey entitled Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America
. The gloomy title suggests that the findings are not good. What is somewhat shocking is how bad the results actually are. Between 1982 and 2002 the United States saw a ten percent decline in readers of literature, or nearly 20 million readers. This decline occurred despite a growing population. In the current cultural climate fewer than half of Americans actually read literature.
Of this half, most are readers of short stories or novels, which were read by 45.1 percent or 93 million adults in the previous year. Poetry was read by 12.1 percent or 25 million people. With so few readers, Can Poetry Matter?
To get a little Reading Rainbow about it, what do you think (5 Bonus Points to the first post "acknowledging" a Shelley quotation)?