Look at them. Students. They look so happy and studious. The great thing about students is they still read; and I believe they are poetry's last salvation.
We've already discussed how poets don’t buy poetry. I was recently discussing this issue with Rosemary on a LinkedIn group.
We talked about how self defeating it was for poets to be frugal in their purchases of poetry books. I've come to believe poets are a bad market for poetry. From a marketing perspective, writers of poetry are not prolific consumers. Unfortunately, this shapes (as Rosemary mentioned) the quality of their poetry. It sadly shapes the entire poetry market as well.
But it is what it is. One thing I mentioned earlier was tagging. If book buyers searching on Amazon can find books on topics they want to read about, even if those topics are found in poetry books, this might result in a purchase of poetry from a non-poetry lover.
This Monday at a poetry reading, I heard some very raw, personal poems from a man with Parkinson's disease. If a book of poetry on the subject of Parkinson's was found online by another sufferer, a family caretaker, or a student doing research on the subject from the fields of social work, medicine or psychology—they might buy that book.
Students in particular would find poetry a valuable resource in their research projects. Poetry could serve research projects in helping students shape and outline their ideas by:
- Providing unique quotations to open research papers;
- Offering first-hand testimonials on difficult topics: researchers often need testimonials to support their ideas and poems from cancer survivors, abuse survivors, immigrants, (topics are endless), all provide freely-given, undiluted, honest accounts of their experiences;
- Framing their topics in a new, often metaphorical, way.
By using poetry as a research tool, many students could be exposed to poetry who normally would not see the use of it. And some of those students might get hooked on verse for life.
Talk to teachers about using poetry for research.
It is our action item to advertise poetry beyond poets and literature readers. Can you think of any other groups of readers who might need poetry?