"In this bleak midwinter, with the recession and bad weather, poetry may be helping us to keep body and soul together. At a time when everything is being cut, closed down, diminished and discontinued, the forecast for poetry is surprisingly fair. . .
"Yes, there is a renaissance," says Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society. "Poetry used to be covered in the press only twice a year, and now poetry is getting serious coverage … The entries for the National Poetry competition went up by 46% last year, and the Foyle Young Poets of the Year entries went up by 43%. People are coming at the poetry world from all different perspectives. Just last week I met a neurologist who said he had a great poetry reading group at work. . .
"It used to seem funny to me how us poets called readings 'gigs' – just to pretend we were pop stars. We'd meet each other on the road and say, 'Done any good gigs recently?' But now it doesn't seem all that funny: not when a thousand people turn up for a poet at Latitude, or hundreds of people listen to poetry in the Clapham Grand at Book Slams and shout and cheer like they would at a pop concert, doing everything except singing along.
"And across the country, school students are attending the massive Poetry Live readings (around 150 000 schoolkids attend per year), where they can get to hear the poets they are studying on the page: Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke, John Agard, Imtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra, Carol Ann Duffy … These readings are unique events, in the sense that they are electrifying. Poets go on the stage and students roar! There is no doubt about it, whatever the convergence of reasons and coincidences: poetry rocks."
OK, so that's England, home of Shakespeare. Does poetry rock in America too? What do you think?