You ask me, “Is Poetry Dead?”
Before I can answer, you do.
You say it most certainly is. You say it’s because no radical artform can have such well-funded grant programs. You say that poetry doesn’t really change anything any more. That it doesn’t start revolutions like it once did. You say that poetry used to be the place where people got their news, but now you can’t even get the news from the news.
You are sitting behind a desk when you say this. You look cross and confident like a disapproving old testament God we missed in Sunday school. Who are you that you get to determine the mortality of something like poetry? What school gives out degrees in this sort of knowledge? I’d like to know where such power resides.
You say there are only 6 people who buy new poetry. How many people buy photography? How many people buy music? How many people steal movies? The internet has caused the value of these art forms to plummet, yes, but they are not dead. They are incapable of dying. They are not animate. They are immortal. Even when I’m dead my head will live inside your RCA cords. You cannot kill poetry. No matter how hard you try. I agree with you when you say the prevailing method for us to ingest poetry is through song and most songs deliver an incomplete form, but poetry it still is. It might change in look, like journalism will have to, but it will be present on this earth as long as language spews from our tongues.
It might not look like the Iliad or the Odyssey anymore, but poetry is not a book of rhymes or ink on yellowing paper; it is a manner of speaking, a cadence, a rhythm, and timing. It is us observing the natural world; sometimes coming to unnatural conclusions. Our notes for daily living, our record, our survival guide. Part internal jewelry part life saving skill. It’s the music of language that builds and captivates. It cannot go anywhere, much less be buried in a grave.
Trying to kill poetry is like trying to stab smoke with a knife; you can take a lot of swings but no progress is made.
Poetry is and will be.