This was supposed to be an easy “nyah-nyah-nyah” sort of post.

My plan was to crow about how, despite multitudinous prognostications to the contrary (all those declarations that “OMG!  Poetry is dead, Dead, DEAD”), piling words together and mixing them up continues to flow unabated through the world, continues to move and heal a multitude of hearts, continues to evolve and grow and change even in this, our digitally enhanced post-modern world.

No extinction is in sight.

“Tonal Poetry” by Professor Bop via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
The rise of performance and spoken poetry – most notably rap and slam — and the meteor showers of digital poetry on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and all that as well as the burgeoning crop of celebrity poets of one sort or another have been well-documented, so I’m putting away all that pile of research and not bothering you with the factoids.

Let me give you this YouTube video of “To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter,” a poem by Jesse Parent published by Button Poetry in 2014, instead:

As a bonus, here’s another: “I Won’t Write Your Obituary,” by slam poet Nora Cooper, published in 2015 by Button Poetry:

Poetry is still flying.  (It also flows and flops and fools around.)

Button Poetry, an independent producer and distributor of poetry media founded by Sam Cook and Sierra DeMulder in 2011, showcases work by “the best and brightest performance poets of today,” among other things.

Their collection of these kinds of videos is available at a computer near you.  Check it out on YouTube.

“Bottled Poetry” by Leland Francisco via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]


I think I have to agree with Chrissy Montelli, who said in her 2015 article that appeared in the Gandy Dancer online literary magazine published a couple of times a year by State University of New York (SUNY) students, “…if you have to keep declaring, over and over, that poetry is dead, it can’t actually be dead.  Poetry can’t possibly die if people keep talking about it.”

Announcing poetry’s supposedly imminent demise every few months or so, year after year for decades on end, and having other folks dive in to rebut the declaration and rev up the ongoing and never-ending debate does count as conversation, don’t you think?

Bemoaning the deterioration of the “quality” of the poetry produced is another perennial pursuit of the perpetual poesy doom-sayers, it seems.

Either the thing is lying there gasping its last because “nobody is paying attention” and, therefore, it is just a waste of time so why bother?… or else the poor thing is getting weak and diseased and suffers from palsy because the Great Unwashed have embraced it and made it popular (and even lucrative) again and the Craft is suffering.

“Poetry” by Prem Rose via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
Aw, gimme a break!


Professor Dennis G. Jerz at Seaton Hill University in Pennsylvania is an early adopter of all things web and a “social media practitioner” who teaches courses in game studies, digital storytelling, new media, journalism, literacy, and writing.

The guy has maintained “Jerz’s Literacy Weblog” since 1999.

One of his blog posts on poetry-writing is a refinement and expansion of a compilation by one of his students, Kara Ziehl, of writing tips to help students in his English 110 (“Introduction to College Writing”) class.  He says it has become required reading for his budding student poets.

“Poetry” by Angie Garrett via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Jerz starts the post by saying, “If you are writing a poem because you want to capture a feeling that you experienced, then you don’t need these tips. Just write whatever feels right. Only you experienced the feeling that you want to express, so only you will know whether your poem succeeds.”

However, if you’re trying to communicate with other people and you’re trying to step into their world and tug at their hearts or move their minds, he points out, there are a number of different tried-and-true techniques and strategies that can help.

It was a bit surprising that the hacks Jerz shares are a lot like the stuff trendy business thought leaders and communication experts advocate:

  • Know your goal.
  • Avoid clichés.
  • Avoid sentimentality.
  • Use images.
  • Use metaphor and simile.
  • Use concrete words instead of abstract words.
  • Subvert the ordinary.
  • Rhyme with extreme caution.
  • Revise, revise, revise.

Click on the button for the fullness of the musings of the good doctor and his student.


(If you’re wanting to learn more about constructing poems, the site is a good place to explore as well.)


Another award-winning author, poet, and teacher David Ebenbach chimes in with his The Ultimate and Decisive ‘Is Poetry Dead?’ Article which appeared in 2016 as a post on his blog, “AGNI: The Journal.”

In it he pulls in Science-with-the-capital-S as the ultimate argument for the aliveness of poetry since, he says, in America science resolves all debates.  Ebenbach uses the biological definition of life (according to Wikipedia) to build his case.

“Poetry” by Eddi van W via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
All living things have to meet seven criteria, Ebanbach (and Wikipedia) say:

  • RESPONSE TO THE ENVIRONMENT. Poets, the language and the words they use, the events they examine, the methods they use to share their work are all influenced by the world they live in.
  • METABOLISM (also known “processing”). Poems and artful language can be used to process and transform worldly events into human experiences with all the emotion and thought a human has at their disposal and assorted lessons learned embedded in the offerings.
  • REPRODUCTION.  Hang out with poets and sooner or later you’re going to start building your own poems.  The durned things are catching…like a virus.
  • ORGANIZATION (another word for “orderliness”). Poets give words their marching orders and line them up (often in some sort of formation and, one hopes, with some sort of internal logic).
    • Poets who build and then send out these constructs always have some purpose or other for doing so.
    • Whether a poem works or not depends a lot on the skill of the one putting them together.
  • HOMEOSTASIS (sometimes called “stability” or “balance” or maybe even “context”)  Poems don’t happen in a vacuum.
    • The ones that sparkle take into account what is happening inside a person and inside the poetic thought-construct as well as in the outside world enfolding them.
  • GROWTH.  Building a good poem means spending a lot of time finding the most appropriate words that will allow the poem to achieve better coherence as well as a grander effect in the worlds of other people’s perceptions.
  • ADAPTATION.  In order for a poem to live, it has to transfer the load of human experience it carries from the poet’s mind into somebody else’s mind and somehow adapt to that other person’s world enough to be understood by them and to evoke some sort of response from them.

And there you have it.  Science in the service of poetry.  Cool!

Here’s a poem….


What I do – writing Life-Built Poems —

Requires a peculiar state of mind.


It’s unplugged and acoustical, I think.


It can be a relief, a consolation,

A way to beat back

The dulling dailyness of every day,

And a way to find your own way back

To ground zero after you’ve wandered around

With your head in the clouds,

Gulliver among the Lilliputs.


This mindset can be used to search for

The golden God thread that runs through

All the dribby-drabness,

All the gotta-do delusions,

All the distress and the pain.


You can take yourself into a space

Where you can see

(Maybe with some degree of clarity)

Into the bubble-world of some other person

Who is irritating the hell out of you because,

For real, that other’s really just

Some iteration of a

Particularly human trait that

You’ve been busy denying

Exists in your own silly self.


The World is my Mirror…

What is it showing me?


Life-built poems are a promise.

You have assured the Universe that

You will not close your eyes

To what the world, your mirror, is showing you.


That wise guy Daruma cut off his eyelids

To keep from falling asleep.


It’s like that.


Constructing Life-Built Poems means

You get to keep your eyelids

And your eyeballs don’t dry out,

And maybe your heart doesn’t blow away

In the dusty wind.

By Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit: “The Swift” by Giles Watson via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.


  1. Death? That cannot be said of poetry, ever! 

    So far people still feel emotions and nurse feelings,poetry can never die. 

    Poetry is a feeling beyond ecstasy that can transcend imagination to reality. When people talk about the death of poetry, I only give them my phone to access my saved videos on YouTube. 

    Poetry is definitely alive and does not show any sign of imminent death.

    Poetry is a creator
    that breathes life to death!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Tracy.  I do agree!

      Please do come again….

  2. Those are good poems.   The poems can become song.  Anyone is skilled about poems as well as song. I’m not very good at the poems.  The experience what you see or feel or look around you to help you find right words to express beautiful poems.  Some of singers can make the poems into songs, so they can sing.  

    Good job on that site.  Good Luck!

    1. Carolyn, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  3. Todd Matthews says:

    Poetry is most definitely alive and well and it’s shared in so many forms these days, whether via the traditional method, through broadcasts, and especially in songs. I don’t think most people realize just how popular poetry is and how well it still sells to general audiences. I mean, even pictures we buy to hang up have poems embedded on them. Poetry is everywhere and will remain so for years to come. 

    1. Todd, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I like your point that we even have posters with poems embedded in them.

      Please do come again.

  4. Poetry poetry poetry, that art has always been a beauty for me to behold. The artistry is great and I think that the type of poetry that I most appreciate is that one that can speak to me. 

    You have also mentioned here that this kind of poetry also needs some kind of procedure. 

    I love poetry and I love it when I see you write one. Keep up the good work here.

    1. John, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate your kind words.

      Please do come again.

  5. Very interesting indeed and I agree with you poetry is alive and well. 

    You raise an interesting point that poetry is part of life. It is a form of communication and expression. It never occured to me to write poetry like a business communication. I always viewed it more from a creative and literary angle. 

    Showing poetry as a life form is something very useful to show it’s relationship with humans and how it can have a life of it’s own.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Stanley.  I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Please do come again.

  6. SeunJeremiah says:

    I must say this poem favours brevity yet this poems also capture succinct detail, making it incredibly powerful in getting a message across to me the reader. 

    Writing poetry requires the poet to be extremely disciplined with his choice of words and the number of words, to create a sharp and accurate snapshot of what he or she is feeling, and that’s exactly what you have done here.

    I’m going to read it all over again to get the message passed across.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post speaks to you.

      Please do come again.

  7. Rodarrick says:

    This is actually coming to me as a surprise to know that people are actually addressing poetry as going to extinction of dying. 

    Any of the above does not work for poetry because poetry can only grow more and more. It can never die because it has to do with people and as long as humans live, poetry will continue to thrive. 

    This is great and the various tips and authorities you have shared on it are spot on. Thumbs up on this post and I truly find it worthy. The videos accompanied here are of powerful spoken word poetry too.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Rodarrick.  I’m glad you found the post interesting.

      Please do come again.

  8. Henderson says:

    This I a very good discourse here and I’m glad to have read  this. This is a little off the inspiring posts you do write generally. 

    Poetry have really evolved over the years and it is very evident in the rap and other types we have today. I really like your poems on this website and its something I’m always on the lookout for. 

    Thank you for adding those videos. 

    Best regards!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Henderson.  I’m glad you are enjoying my site.

      Please do come again.

  9. One of the witnesses of the human spirit and life is certainly poetry. Each valuable poem opens us to a landscape through which we get to know the elemental realities of life. We strive to experience them and enrich our soul with new knowledge. For, the mystery of the reality before us is the same for all people, sometimes sad, and people who have previously felt light on the path we are walking today.

    1. Kozakiv, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  You make poetry your own self!  I love it.  Thank you.

      Please do come again….

  10. Parameter says:

    “To the boys who —- ——– date my daughter”, was more than a bonus.  I listened to it, again and again. I had to sit my family down to listen to such instruction of wisdom. We made our children see the reason to keep their sanctity and not play around unnecessarily

    1. Parameter, thanks for the visit and for sharing your story.  I am very pleased the post resonated with you and that you shared the poem with your children.  It makes me smile.

      Please do come again….

  11. Evagreene says:

    Poetry can never die! Poetry’s strength lies in its ability to shed a “sideways” light on the world, so the truth sneaks up on us. Also, the reality of today’s world revolves around poetry. Even our culture has deep root in poetry so it can’t die, not now! Not anytime!! Thanks for sharing this article.

    1. Evagreene, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I love your image of poetry as a “sideways” light on the world.  Beautiful!

      Please do come again.

  12. I would like to give thanks to the article writer for writing an awesome topic about poetry. I still believe that poetry can bring about a revolution in our minds, don’t I?

    Someone can think that poetry is dead in our modern society, it’s totally wrong idea. Poetry is still alive. I think poetry is an art of beauty. A beautiful minded person is always fond of poetry. So we can say in a word that, it is impossible for poetry to become death. It will remain forever.

    I appreciate this topic and topic writer very much. I would like to say every one to read this topic as well as read poetry with care.

    Thanks a lot for your excellent article.

    1. Tariqul, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree with you.

      Please do come again.

  13. Great post! As you said, if poetry were dead, no one would be trying so desperately to convince others that it is. 

    Perhaps it has changed, just like our language has. It seems that many see poetry as real poetry only if it is spoken in some old English or other formal style. 

    When a lot of the classic poetry we love was written, it was just slightly more formal than the conversational language of the day. Language evolves, and so should poetry and songwriting, etc…

    I really like your poem at the and the two you have in the videos above. The approach is more in tune with modern spoken language and vernacular, with a hint of formality attached, similar to the approach in decades and centuries past. 

    I love all forms and vintages of the spoken and written word, and I respect those who still write poetry and use their creative abilities to use modern words and ways of speaking to communicate with the audience. 

    Thanks for this post. Very insightful!

    1. Darrin, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I think you make a good point:  Poetry is just a little bit of rearranging (and sometimes twisting and bending) modern language that helps us go visit other worlds.  It’s all it’s ever been, actually.

      I am so glad you enjoyed the post.  Please do come again.

  14. terryiching says:

    That’s an interesting statement, “Poetry is Dead”. 

    When I was in grade school, reading and writing poetry was required. I got introduced to a number of different poets, but my favorite was e.e. cummings. His style grabbed my attention because it was out of the ordinary. It didn’t follow any set pattern like Frost or Whitman poems. 

    I must admit, my interest in poetry waned after grade school, replaced by rock n roll music. So in some aspect I guess poetry is dead among my age group.

    But if you look at today’s music, specifically rap, poetry abounds in their verses. MTV used to have a live poetry show about 10 years ago. I have gone to many public events and found poets sharing their prose. 

    Today, Poetry is most definitely alive and well and, in my opinion, Tupac Shakur is the poet of his generation. Poetry is changing and growing everywhere by evidence in the words of music today.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, terryiching.

      We share a love for e e cummings.  I, too, fell in love with his work in my teens.

      Some of my own favorite poets include people like Bob Dylan and many of the other rock-n-roll bards, and filk and rhythm and blues and country dudes…and so on.  Some rap artists caught my ear as well.  

      I don’t think you (and the rest of our generation) ever gave up on poetry.  We just liked having it served to us with a good back-beat and some pyrotechnical instrumentation.  

      I agree with you that poetry morphs with the times.

      Please do come again.  

  15. Stratos K says:

    Poetry is an exceptional art that unfortunately has lost much of its magic due to the intrusion of technology today. I remember when I was young and we didn’t have computers or internet it was easier to interact and understand the meaning behind the words. There are so many beautiful poems out there that people simply do not understand. Your poems are really an oasis in an ever growing desert. Well said!

    1. Stratos, your thoughts do make me wonder if you might not be right — that all the computers and such may be harming our sensitivity to the nuances of words and human interaction.  (There are probably scientific studies and such about that as well as dire warnings and hysteria.)

      Whatever.  I am pleased that you like my poems.

      Please do come again.

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