How do you maximize a poetry audience?

Children's Author David L. Harrison's Blog

Hi everyone,

Thank you for the suggestions of topics that might help keep us interested and involved as the siren call of summer beckons to us. list included this thorny one: How do we maximize a poetry audience?Jane Yolen

I think the question has questions within:
1) How do we increase the number of poetry readers?
2) How do we create more poetry enthusiasts?
3) How do we entice more people to choose poetry readings over other choices? 4) How does an individual poet increase his or her fan base?

The floor is open for comments. Give us your thoughts about any of these you choose to and/or offer other thoughts on the general question.

I’ll start with #1. For decades I’ve been reading that teachers who don’t like poetry and therefore don’t enjoy teaching it are suffering from unpleasant experiences when they were students. Assuming that this was ever true…

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2 Comments on “How do you maximize a poetry audience?

  1. Thank you, Larry. I appreciate your help sharing this conversation and invite comments from your readers.


    • Happy to play it forward, David. You’ve posed some good questions. I am fairly certain we never studied poetry when I went to school, so I arrived at poetry without a bad taste in my mouth. I went on to receive my BA in British literature with a specialization in poetry, which was all about interpretation. When I went into teaching at the high school level, I hated to teach it: the groan of students was overwhelming and we had to teach from a text book, which limited exposure to the breadth and depth of poetry. Grading was another issue. Whether working with students on their poetry or other creative writing, I found/find it difficult to place a very personal and arbitrary reaction to a student’s writing at the top of the page with an A, B, C, D, or F. I’m very glad I “discovered” poetry when I got to the college level, but even then I didn’t discover the humorous side of poetry until I began to write for children and study what was available.


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