Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where Have All The Poets Gone?

Where Have All The Poets Gone?

Where have all the poets gone,
Whose metered cadences unfurled,
The ones whose noble verses rhymed,
Whose hillsides were dew-pearled? ...

...Where have all the poets gone
Who sang throughout the ages?
Are they replaced by blank verse now
That dribbles down the pages?...

You can find the rest of the poem here


I have not heard of a famous poet lately. There is a few, I guess. Maya Angelou and Mark Strand.

However, there is nothing today that matches poets of the past. Names like Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, and John Keats, or Anne Sexton reverberate through history as famous poets.

Now, I am sure there are still poets out there plugging away in their own meters and genres (wow, had to pull those words out of the memory bank!) But, they are not celebrated and known as in the past.


I have a few theories of my own:

1) There were only a few types of media in the past. Specifically a few that were accepted.

2) There were far fewer "things" in print - books, magazines, literature in general.

3) Those poems stand timeless to those who teach Literature classes, there fore they are highlighted in schools.

4) We just don't appreciate the art anymore. It is too slow for our overstimulated lives. We have just stopped listening to them.


I posed this question to my dear friend Deb (from Sojourner). She had the best answer of all though.

"Julie, there are still poets. I just think they are called song writers now"

(that is a loose quote. she said something along those lines :)


That is why I love her! Of course. There are still poets out there - tons of them! But the art has taken on a new form... the words have been set to music and we know the verses far better then any generation before us.

So, to hear a modern day poet - just turn on the radio!


What is your opinion. Where do you think all the poets have gone?


Memories Of Mine said...

Oh that is brilliant. I think of why I love my favourite singer and I love him because of his beautiful lyrics and wonder harmonies.

I think your friend Deb has found the correct answer and poetry has taken on a new medium over time, combined with music to add an extra sense for us to feel and be drawn in by what the artist has to say.

Kacie said...

I think there are more poets than ever, they are just not "famous". Anyone can be a poet. I consider myself to be a poet.

The modern-day poets I love the most only have a small group of fans who follow, appreciate, understand their work. My favorite is Bill Holm who recently passed away. I blogged about him a while back. A few other good ones are Phil Dacey and Robert Bly. I heard all 3 of them give poetry readings and got to meet them in person. :)

Dave King said...

Brilliantly done and making a good case that needs answering. Nevertheless, I think there are poets writing today as good as those in the past. Not the same as, but as good as: Seamus Heaney, John Burnside and Carol Anne Duffy to mention three very different ones.

Adan said...

i would have to whole heartedly agree. I am a published poet. Actually published twice. I started to write poetry as lyrics of the songs that reverberated in my head as a younger guy.

Music has become poetry. Music is just another form of it. The Irish are amazing at it! They tell stories to song, just to have something to do while they get drunk. How cool is that?

Lynnae said...

I think a lot of people (like me) write poetry but don't feel it's good enough to share with others. Sometimes I just have to get it out of my system.
I agree about the lyrics. Josiah Leming is my favorite modern poet. Just watch 'One Last Song' on youtube.

Deb said...

I'm not sure which tickeled me more, seeing you say you loved me in print, or calling my comment "brilliant"! Ha! So glad you're in my life. After reading other's comments, I fear we travel in small circles and don't know the current great poets. Kacie's comment about the poet in us all reminds me of my hubby's poetry. Hmmm...sounds like a post idea to me!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I agree with you about not appreciating the art of just plain poetry. I know that my kids going through high school rarely had poetry such as when I was growing up. What an interesting concept of poetry through lyrics..how true!

Sandra said...

This is a good topic. I think many poets have turned to song writing. Good point.

Polly said...

I totally agree! Life today is too fast and too noisy for people to appreciate poetry. Poetry definitely requires patience and attention. And I also agree that there are still poets around, only they are less popular and more difficult to find, I actually need to ask for it in the bookshop if I want to read a new poet.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Julie :) I love poetry! One of my favorite poets is Mary Oliver and she is a modern day poet. Maybe most people just don't take the time to appreciate them, but they are definitely there.
I love the pictures you used for this post too! Very powerful and poetic...LOL :)