The Rise and Rise of Poetry

Occasionally there is good news. This week we heard that poetry sales in the UK continue to increase, helped by exposure on social media platforms (Instagram alone features 19 million poets with the hashtag #poetry). I turned to The Bookseller for further information specifically about the U.K. and discovered some impressive statistics. Apparently, 1.4 million people in the U.K. write poetry — the same number as those who attend contemporary dance and just slightly fewer than those who attend opera. Of course, The Bookseller isn’t so much concerned with whether the poetry the 1.4 million are writing is any good as whether it sells, but at least their poetry is being published.

When I was responsible for the Stanbrook Abbey Press, I regularly received manuscripts from budding poets. In all but a few cases, alas, I had to find gentle ways of suggesting the waste-paper basket was their best friend. Perhaps I was just unlucky; or perhaps — perish the thought! — I failed to recognize genius. However that may be, as an enthusiastic reader of poetry I am glad to think of all the new poets I have yet to discover and the new ways of thinking and seeing that will result. Good news doesn’t have to be political or economic, or concern the environment or any other cause we feel the need to fight for. Sometimes it appears ‘like apples of gold in pictures of silver’ between the leaves of a book — for many of us, a poetry book.


3 thoughts on “The Rise and Rise of Poetry”

  1. I’ve just been introduced to John O’Donoghue. His poem New Beginnings was used as part of the prayer introduction at a recent kick off meeting for a new course I’ve decided to do. It spoke clearly to me and led me to look at more of his work. The written word is very strong and I admit I can get lost in books.Thanks be to God for writers and poets.

  2. I used to write an awful lot of very bad poetry when I was a teenager, not so much anymore! I only ever enjoyed it though, as a group activity – reading and discussing it collectively with intelligent and thought-provoking companions. If I’m honest, I find reading the Bible rather the same…

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