Today’s Poetry: Revolution at Hand or More of the Same?

What does the future hold for poetry? Here are some articles bearing concerns about today’s trends and concerns for where poetry is heading.

In his article, Creating a Soulful, Inspirational Poetry for the Future , (Osprey Journal) Don Coorough states that “Poetry has arrived at an historic crossroads.”  With events such as 9-11, the war on terrorists, climate change, the abundance of internet and print journals, along with contemporary poetry’s “commercial irrelevance,” he feels that we are “ripe for a revolution.”

According to MODERNIST POETRY AND THE CONTEMPORARY SCENE, Modernism is where we are now.  Experimentation, individualism, anti-realism and intellectualism are characteristics of Modernism. The themes are a rejection of religion, history and social institutions. lists and describes many Poetic Schools & Movements of this period.

Trends of contemporary poetry were discussed recently at the University of Texas by a panel composed of  Harvey Lee Hix, Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Dean Young  and moderated by Rob Casper, director of the Poetry Society of America. Casper,  a UT professor of writing and poetry and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.  The audience questioned the panel about “the role of poetry in a postmodern society  and the legitimacy of truth claimed in poetry in relation to other types of writing.” Casper believes poets are neglecting the conventions of rhyme and form, and are naive about poetry of the past. While the poet distrusts words, they are all the poet has to use in order to convey beauty and truth in the world. Casper claims that the eternal and metaphysical are uncomfortable elements for the postmodernists. Kelly admitted that she had written poems that she did not believe were true, even though she was trying to write the truth. The biggest part of the panel discussion focused on the question of the point of today’s poetry. Hix, a professor at the University of Wyoming, said that MFA programs are valuable, but may not be helping writers get published. Kelly added that she doubts the vast amount of poetry activity in the world today is found in American MFA programs.

In his book Modern Poetry after Modernism, Longenbach claims that it is wrong to say Post-Modern poetry could not break through with politics, history, or the individual, because these things were already found in Modernism of the first half of the century, but the critics only saw a narrow view of that era. Logenbach proposes a truce to end the battles between formalist  and free-verse poets.

There is an interesting discussion on the Bloomsbury Review, albeit from 2004: What recent trends in American poetry do you find troubling or worrisome? By Ray González . This article posts concerns about the division of formalist and experimental poetry, shallow word play, the shunning of confessional poetry, the poet seen as celebrity, slam as performance, and the troubling phrase “return to verse.”

Please feel free to add articles on the subject and/or to comment on your opinion of the future of poetry.


4 thoughts on “Today’s Poetry: Revolution at Hand or More of the Same?

  1. Insighful article about Poetry and need for Revolution in Today,s Poetry. Good piece, there is hope the growth of poets in this modern age. I agree that poets have impact and influence to express the human mind, soul and spirit in poetic terms. The future of poetry is an adventure waitng to be explore, challenging society, promote mental, emotional, physical and spirtual well-being of humanity. Art should express beauty, truth, human emotions, soul , spirit , and other dimensions of humanity. There are room of all forms of poetic expressions from historical, tradtional, experimental, metaphysical, inspirtional, sciencific, spirtiual, spoken word,etc. Artistic intergity will triumpth over movement and adenga s of the people
    by Denise Swoveland

  2. It’s fascinating that poetry is called commercially irrelevant. That’s not true in the world of children’s literature. Rhyming picture books are always on bookstore shelves. Novels in verse for middle grade and YA readers are huge sellers. Even themed anthologies (one of my favorites is “Stella Unleashed” — a book of poems in the voice of a family dog) are successful. I just wonder why this hasn’t transferred to the adult market.

    • I don’t know, but at a recent workshop we were told by a prominent children’s author, Crystal Bowman, that there is a freeze on publishing children’s books and that it is extremely hard to get a picture book or “stand alone” book published. It was depressing, as I was considering using some of my poems as children’s books. There’s always self-publishing…

  3. Hello, I would like to invite you to join; The Poetic Voice Community. It is a writer’s site where you can enter contests – add poetry and get feedback. The latest entries are listed on the blog posts. Click on link, and check us out! Then join, and post.


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