I was half-listening to the radio this morning and there were two guests, both poets, one was Lemn Sissay and the other was a woman – unfortunately now the BBC website is all about podcasts and listen again, finding factual information about a programme is impossible, so I can’t remember who the other poet was.
The reason they were being interviewed was about the rise in poetry books being bought and the reason for it; in 2018,Natasha Onwuemezi wrote: “According to Andre Breedt, m.d. of Nielsen BookScan, poetry book sales have seen a 66% increase in the past five years, which saw over a million poetry books sold at a value of £11.1m”
The interviewer seemed slightly baffled, but it seemed clear the boom in sales was due to a boom in interest in poetry, in reading it – and what wasn’t really mentioned, in writing it. Lemn Sissay made a very good point that this is the era of words, we text, we message, we read stuff – and write stuff on-line, we live in a world of words. He went on to suggest that a reason for this surge might be to do with the world we now live in, the uncertainty, the fear, the economic difficulties, the way society now operates, and of course, for us here in the UK, BREXIT I am not going to comment on that, but Sissay said there had been a similar surge in sales at another crisis time – unfortunately, I can’t remember when, I was half-asleep, but it may have been the Miners’ Strike, it may have been some other national difficulty.
This may be true – I can’t really say, but I know that I am having a greater exposure to poetry of all kinds through social media – here on WordPress, on Twitter, and on Instagram, there are ordinary people creating marvellous pieces of all descriptions using words. I think it’s a most exciting time, and it’s so stimulating as a writer to have exposure to such a variety of work, sometimes very challenging, sometimes indecipherable, sometimes beautiful even though I can’t fully understand the verse. I have started writing in a poetical way too… I wouldn’t exactly describe what I write as poetry, but it is being creative differently.
Here is a link to Onwuemezi’s post:
My featured image is one which inspires me, with my favourite theme, light through trees on water.