Survey Takes Closer Look at Fans of Verse

Monday, May 5, 2008

Poetry readers tend to lead active lives, listen to music, read a lot, use the Internet and volunteer at significantly higher rates than non-poetry readers, according to a study looking at U.S. involvement with poetry.

The 2006 study, seen as the first national in-depth survey, was conducted at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center for the nonprofit Poetry Foundation. It found:

· About one-third of poetry readers read or listen exclusively to poetry written after 1945, and about one-quarter read or listen to both contemporary poetry and classics.

· Eighty percent of poetry readers encounter poetry as children.

· Readers find poetry from various sources: single-author books, 77 percent; anthologies, 58 percent; television, 48 percent; radio, 41 percent; the Internet, 36 percent; poetry readings, 29 percent; poetry magazines, 20 percent.

· Among the most frequently cited reasons that people don't read poetry are lack of time, loss of interest and lack of access. Though more than 80 percent of former poetry readers find poetry difficult to understand, only 2 percent of respondents don't read poetry because they feel it is "too hard."

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