Whatever Happened to Poetry?
If you are like many people, the last or perhaps only exposure you’ve had to poetry was in a high school English class. For most readers’ poetry as a viable genre is either “MIA” or non-existent. While poetry is often viewed as the forgotten member of the literary family, a majority of its devotees and followers are aspiring poets.
Why is poetry, literature’s original art form which has been with mankind virtually since its beginning, now thought to be ‘staid and archaic’ to the point of exclusion? The historical roots of poetry go back to the first humans who sat around fires telling stories of survival, traditions and ancestry. Their oral renditions retold to successive tribal generations set the stage for epic tales, which would become the mainstay of literature and theater for evolving empires and civilizations.
Poetic fables were often short morality vignettes, which would draw listeners into the action and character plights using a variety of expositions or expressions including rhymes, songs, choral refrains and descriptive dialogues to tell the story.
Throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance poetry achieved growth and glory as it provided both entertainment and education for masses of illiterate people. During the Enlightenment period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, poetry attained a pinnacle position in literature, which then gave birth to its many diverse forms, eventually leading to the fundamentals and rejoinders of musical lyrics people have enjoyed singing since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and throughout the twentieth century.
Today most people have been exposed to or have assimilated poetic rhymes from childhood fairy tales and their earliest bed-time story experiences. Poetry’s pre-reading introduction has helped millions to form, learn and establish the foundational pillars of the reading process.
So where has poetry gone? Why does poetry currently live in the literary shadows? Poetry still offers readers opportunities for growth and enjoyment, because poetry is unique.
Can tell a story with a beginning, middle and end in bite sized, brief or concise formats and lengths.
Can offer an emotional pull and connection to every reader, regardless of age, gender, social, economic or political preference.
Can represent or jump from plot to plot, character to character, scene to scene with transitional ease.
May be employed as a style application for every other literary genre.
Makes use of themes, events, and lessons of life in quick and easy to read presentations.
Is the perfect match for a ‘Twitter’ reading world.
Where is poetry? It’s alive and well. You may have to look a little harder or dig a little deeper, but poetry is everywhere. Go ahead, read a poem today. You’ll recognize the joy of it, because a poet lives in each of us.
What is the difference between ebooks and paperback books?
George P., Atlanta, GA
Thanks for your question.
The primary difference is of course, the format and physical structure. Traditionally published books are either printed as hard covers or paperbacks. Ebooks, as the name denotes, are electronic publications formatted to be read on PC screens or a variety of e-reader devices.
From a consumer standpoint, ebooks are generally less expensive or (often) free, easy to store and accessible virtually anytime you power up your ereader and you can carry literally hundreds if not thousands with you.
From an author's point of view, ebooks are the way, and wave of the future. Recent sales figures for the publishing industry bear out ebooks are the only segment of the publishing and reading markets which continuing to grow. As more and more young readers with computer skills enter the school and consumer markets, this increase of ebook proliferation should continue unabated. As I describe in my book, Pathways To Publishing, by the time my grandchildren are my age, I believe the only place one will find printed books will be in museums, archives or private collections. (Be sure to save any first editions of books or author
signed paperback and hard cover books you may have or acquire.)
From a (self)publisher's standpoint, ebooks are the easiest, fastest, and least costly way to get a book manuscript finished and available for sale in the marketplace. The requirements of ebook production are minimal and fairly easy to accomplish when compared with other avenues of publishing today. Many of the larger ebook distribution systems (Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble) have similar industry requirements, much the same as for printed books, but generally speaking, ebooks can be marketed and sold without many of the publishing or legal requirements needed for printed books.
From a marketing position, all the ebook author needs is an Internet connection, a web site and/or a distribution contract with one or more ebook distributors.
Hope this answers the basics of your question. For more information and answers, check out my book, Pathways To Publishing, in ebook format. You can download the first 15% of the book for free and get started reading and learning how to self-publish your book or ebook.
All the best,
In the Hawaiian language, "Mana'o" (ma na o) is the word used to describe 'thoughts, ideas, and opinions'.
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