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Poetry makes a comeback

Some interesting news on the poetry-meets-technology front: Lorna MacLaren of the Scottish newspaper The Herald notes a potential increase in the popularity of poetry, especially that of the Romantics, amongst members of the iPod generation. She cites unattributed statistics — a 40% increase in the downloading of poetry collections and a seven percent increase in the sales of verse on compact disc — as evidence for this claim. According to MacLaren, one set of CDs, entitled The Romantic Poets, may even stand to “outsell the print version of the same traditional works.”

Attributing the reported resurgence in the popularity of poetry to the popularity of rap music among today’s youth, MacLaren’s piece makes further claims concerning the poetic form. One of her interviewees, poet, teacher, and literacy worker Edward Clapp, notes the potential role of poetry in literacy campaigns. “Poetry looks less formidable than prose,” says Clapp, “which, with its paragraphs and page numbers, too closely resembles the essay format, which many students struggle with….” He adds that the concept of poetic licence lends itself to students at all levels of learning, allowing students with strong skills in written English to push the limits of language and enabling students less drawn to the written word to test their writing skills. According to Clapp, “The idea that there is no right or wrong makes creating poetry much more appealing than writing prose — which students are taught has rules.”

Related links:
Click here for MacLaren’s article in The Herald