Does Poetry Still Really Matter in the Modern World?

Poetry Essay

Does Poetry Still Really Matter in the Modern World?

Critics argue that poetry in the modern times is a specialized occupation of a small and isolated group of individuals, yet it was a major form of communication and expression of intelligence a few decades ago (Arana 91).The poets command only a small residual prestige but they are not visible as individual artists, which constitutes a paradigm change because poets were commanding a huge portion of the population some decades ago (Newcomb 54). An important but surprising phenomenon is that the decrease in the popularity of poetry has come at a time when there has been an unprecedented expansion and popularity of other forms of art, including music, authorship, film, photography, painting and other artworks. In addition, the modern times provide a good life for artists, including poets, yet the number of poets as well as the popularity of poetry has declined significantly (Arana 87). Aspects such as technology and ideologies have contributed significantly to the decline of poetry in the last few decades. In addition, music is a major factor that tends to attract huge audiences. Thus, music tends to reduce the number of audiences available for poetry. Moreover,the decline of other forms of art such as drama and jazz has gone along with the decline in poetry.

In spite of this phenomenon, the role of poem in the society remains intact. For this reason, it is worth examining whether the society still needs poetry and poets. Despitethe decreasing popularity of poetry, the art still matters and should play an important role in the society like other forms of art. The significance of retaining poetry within the mainstream artwork is evident in sustaining a clear language that allows people to communicate and relate in the desired manner. In addition, poetry provides intellectuals with the capacity to express their ideas and influence their audience using short but meaningful words and sentences.

Despite the increasing unpopularity of poetry, it is worth stating that the art of making and reading poems remain significant in the modern world. From teaching history to expressing personal opinion on a social, political, cultural or economic issue, poetry remains an important way of penetrating human existence in a number of ways. In fact, the processes through which one can express or penetrate human existence are unique and not possible when using the regular prose approach. For instance, one can write many paragraphs and pages when explaining the joy, fear or sadness of existence, which is relatively difficult and cumbersome (Newcomb 221). However, a poet can use one line or a stanza to express the whole idea that a prose writer can use many words to express the same idea. This implies that using poetry to express ideas or raise issues within a given society is not only simple, but also effective and less cumbersome. Moreover, poems have the capacity to capture the image of an object, individual or topic in a more effective manner than the use of paragraphs. For example, one can use a whole page or several pages to narrate the whole story of walking in a street meeting different kinds of people. On the other hand, a poet can explain the whole scenery in one sentence or a small stanza. It has also been shown that poets have a greater capacity to express the supreme emotions of humans because it is a supreme form of language. For example, a person can dedicate a whole page writing a love letter to a spouse, but the words invoked tend to fall short of a poet’s simple language such as “as a person loves obscure things” (Newcomb 22). Such as small sentence can invoke feelings and emotions in the reader, while an entire narration used in regular prose is likely to cause boredom, failing to invoke the intended emotions. In addition, poetry provides individuals with a good method for recording the deeply rooted sentiments of a society. For instance, plight of the oppressed minority, hope and despair can be revealed through the expression of emotions and feelings within a poem. Thus, the poem allows a poet to be a diarist, capturing various aspects of the society, the minorities and other groups (Jayyus 13). For example, a person can draft guides, rules or a manifesto to declare personal refusal to remain subjugated, but at least one poet will have already stated the position using a few sentences.

Although the modern world seems to neglect poetry, it is clear that the unpopularity of this type of art is not a new phenomenon in human history. For instance, poetry was not popular during the slavery era in the US or during the wars in Europe, yet it bounced back within a few decades. This implies that the unpopularity of poetry in the modern world might be seasonal. However, it is worth noting that the current neglect of poetry is worse, especially in the western world than it has been in the previous generations. People tend to think that poetry is an antithesis of the prevailing forces in the modern context such as technologies and ideologies. It appears that poetry is considered an old tradition.

However, poetry still matters because it is a way of expressing the feelings, emotions and opinions on the same issues that tend to cause the declining popularity of poetry. For instance, technology and ideologies, which have contributed to the loss of poetry’s popularity in the last few decades, attracts different opinions. Individuals have different opinions on radio, mobile phone and other technologies (Whitworth 58). While an author can take weeks to express a personal or public opinion on the use of mobile phone technology within a given society, a poem will have taken few hours and a few sentences to express the overall opinion expressed. Similar to the use of poems to invoke political opinions in the past, poems have the capacity to invoke public opinions about other issues, including the good and the bad of using technologies.

Moreover, it is clear that poetry has reduced popularity due to the impact of modern music. Music has become a major form of entertainment, expression of ideas and creating awareness or convincing the public about a given issue. In fact, music and technology have fitted in each other because technologies such as radio, television, computer and others have increased music production, sharing, performance and development. This phenomenon is one of the forces that have driven poetry from the mainstream arts, making it look like an old form of art. However, it is worth noting that music and poetry are similar in a number of ways. Writing scripts of music is more or less an art similar to poetry. As music continues to become a career, the art of writing scripts becomes an important career that requires education and experience. Training scriptwriters is an important aspect of developing music (Whitworth 152). Most schools of music emphasize on a detailed knowledge of writing, which borrows largely from poetry. In fact, script writing for music is a form of poetry. Individuals with a comprehensive knowledge of poetry have the best skills to develop quality music. In fact, music becomes poetic at the level of writing scripts, but plunges from poetry during performance. Therefore, it is evident that knowledge in poetry drives music.

The role of language in a free society is a major indication that the situation of poetry still matters to the intellectual community. By definition, poetry is the art of arranging and using words with the meaning to express ideas. It has been argued that a society whose intellectuals tend to lose skills for appreciating, shaping and understanding the power and use of their language is likely to become the slaves of the individuals who retrain their language. Politicians, authors, educators and media persons ought to have the best knowledge of the language they are using to express their ideas or influence their subjects. A number of modern writers have pointed out the public responsibility and roles of poetry within the contemporary context. For example, Stephane Mallarme appreciates the central mission of the poet in purifying the words of his tribe. It has also been shown that good writers tend to keep efficient their language at all times. They need to keep the language accurate and clan. Thus, these opinions show that all forms of literature, including poetry, still have an important position in maintaining the efficiency and hygiene of a language. Similar to music and narratives, poetry plays an important role in providing young generations with the right direction towards upholding the language culture and keeping it as clean and efficient as possible.

Although keeping a language clean and maintaining its use is not the only solution to such problems, a clean and honest language plays an important role in passing morals and social values from one generation to another.

Another reason that proves the importance of poetry in the modern context is the finding that poetry is not the only form of art marginally positioned. Just as the audience of poetry has declined significantly, the audiences for most other art forms have reduced. For instance, drama, jazz and other forms of art have lost a significant audience over the last few decades to the popularity of music, video and technologies associated with them. Classical music does not exist beyond university and college departments or conservatories because pop culture has eaten into its former position in the public arena. Since most scholars have argued that the loss of these arts is an indication of the loss of language and culture, it is evident that the loss of poetry is also an indication of the same. In addition, scholars and other enthusiasts of language are increasingly calling for reinstatement of these art forms in order to maintain language (Mackay, Longley and Brearton 73). In fact, it has been shown that a language cannot stand if its literature is lost. Therefore, this is an indication that poetry still matters. If the enthusiasts will develop a better way of reinstating the lost art forms, then poetry will automatically be part of the reinstated art forms in order to maintain the language.

In conclusion, the decline of poetry in the last few decades is a result of a number of factors. Technology, ideologies and the impact of music are the major causes of the decline in poetry. In addition, modern people tend to think that poetry is an old style of literature, which should only be considered in academics. Despite the fact that poetry is a lucrative career, few people are willing to venture into the industry.

Nevertheless, it is evident that poetry is a critical aspect of any language. While other forms of literature and arts such as authorship, music and films provide a better way of expression and creation of awareness, it is worth noting that poetry is the simplest way of describing and expressing ideas, creating awareness and influencing people. In addition, knowledge in poetry plays an important role in music, especially at the level of writing scripts. This analysis has also shown that poetry and language are highly linked such that the loss of poetry is an indication of a decaying language and, to some extent, the society itself. In addition, the analysis shows that loss of poetry, and thus language, is likely to lead to a form of lingual enslavement, where those who lose their language become slaves to those who refine and maintain their language. Therefore, an examination of whether the society still needs poetry and poets indicates that poetry has a critical position in modern language. Despite the decreasing popularity of poetry, the art still matters and should play an important role in the society like other forms of art.



Works Cited

Arana, Victoria. The Facts on File Companion to World Poetry: 1900 to the Present. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2011. Print.

Jayyus, Salma. Trends and Movements in Modern Arabic Poetry. New York: Brill, 2011. Print.

Mackay, Peter, Edna Longley and Fran Brearton. Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry. London: OUP, 2009. Print.

Newcomb, Timberman. Would Poetry Disappear?: American Verse and the Crisis of Modernity. Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 2012. Print.

Whitworth, Michael. Reading Modernist Poetry. New York: Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print.




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