Why Buy Poetry??
edited: Saturday, November 11, 2006
By Zahala San Simone
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, November 10, 2006
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I’ve been asked, more times than I care to remember, why I write poetry. People are curious because there’s ‘no money’ in poetry.
“I mean,” they say, “It’s good to read and all. But why buy it? After you’ve read it, you’re done with it. It’s not like a good novel that you might pick up again and read, a few years later.”
“No,” they continue. “Besides there’s a lot of good, free poetry on the Internet. Why would anyone buy a book of poetry?”
I thought about it. God knows I’ve met enough people struggling to make a full-time living by writing poetry. Why WOULD anyone buy a book of poetry?
The question actually made a lot of sense to me. It troubled me so much, as a matter of fact, that I had to go through my own books to see if I’d ever purchased a book of poetry.
I couldn’t find one. Even though I’ve given away and donated a lot of books, I can’t remember one single book of poetry among them.
And, I’m ashamed of that.
You see, like so many others, I took poetry for granted. I bought novels, self-help books, cookbooks, etc. Further, as a student, when I ran across a poem that I liked, I’d make a copy of it, and then move on. I could even quote some of my favorite poems—learned from the Xerox copy!
What a bonehead I was!!!
Don’t start laughing…especially if you fall into this category—you’re as guilty as I am. We should be flogged!
Now, as with all other mistakes we make, it’s not enough to apologize--we must strive to do better. And, the only way to do that is to put our money where our mouths are, going forward.
Everybody on my gift list is getting a book of poetry this Christmas. And no, it won’t be MY book, since most everybody I know already has a copy of it. (Not because I strong-armed them—which I wasn’t above doing. Fortunately, they wanted to read it.)
Very few of my friends and family will gawk at their book, since they enjoy reading--with the exception of my 13 year old, who probably has some massive electronic gadget on his Christmas list. Just to make sure that he understands this new direction OUR family is taking on poetry though, I think I’ll give him 3 or 4 books of verse…That should make Christmas at our house VERY interesting this year. (Not to worry—he’ll get his electronic gadget too.)
Anyway, the true purpose of this article is to convince you that buying poetry is as important as reading it. The folks who write these masterpieces for us have bills to pay, just like we do. We should support them, and never take for granted the sacrifice they make to inspire, uplift and educate us via the metered verse.
Finally, I apologize to all of my favorite poets…many times over. And, if I see your books in the future, I’ll make it a priority to buy them. I realize how selfish I’ve been…and how generous you were.
They say that what goes around comes around, so it looks like I’ve gone full circle—almost…
I’ll also be waiting for those of you who enjoy my work to apologize to me, and to buy my book...(just kidding--I think!)
Happily eating the most humble pie around,
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|Reviewed by Terri Kirby Erickson
|Great article...I have a suggestion for your poetry presents to friends, lol... How about my book of poetry, Thread Count, by Terri Kirby Erickson? Feel free to look up the reviews at www.amazon.com, and you can buy it there, also. Anyway, I do write and buy poetry... My favorite poetry lately is by Ted Kooser, who was Poet Laureate for several years. He is very real and accessible! Thanks for your thoughts and Merry Christmas!!|
|Reviewed by CJ Heck
|Excellent article, Wendi! I agree with Rusty. I love snuggling up with a book of poetry that suits my mood at the time. I have many -- most are given to poets who've entered contests with a poem of their own, as part of the contest entering process. I love to read poetry, if only to get lost in another world for just a little while ...
|Reviewed by Rusty Daily
|It is true that there is tons of poetry on the internet but I can't snuggle up in my favorite chair with my computer and read only the type of poetry that suits my mood at the time. No, I don't have a laptop. People should by 'books' of poetry. At least those who wish to sit, read and reflect on the words they've read. It is an interesting point you bring up.