To say that poetry no longer matters is a gross misreading of the facts.
Then-poet laureate W.S. Merwin finishes a poetry reading at the Library of Congress in May. The mid-20th century was a heyday of sorts for American poetry: Poets were published and reviewed in newspapers and magazines. Book releases were big events. But in the decades since, as Dana Gioia argued in his 1991 essay “Can Poetry Matter?” it became increasingly isolated and invisible. Spoken-word poetry and other forms began to fill the void. ANDREW COUNCILL/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST Buy Photo