If you grew up in America, it might surprise you to learn that a poet has ever had that sort of impact. Poetry here is best known for the simple, sentimental verses found in Hallmark cards and the lyrics of pop music. The word "poet" probably calls to mind some weirdo in a beret. And poetry's power to influence American politics is, at best, a fizzle--if you heard anything about the anti-Bush anthology Poets Against the War, then you listen to a lot of NPR. The truth is most Americans have lost touch with the best of what poetry is: a record of some of civilization's greatest writers--and wisest people--taking on the questions and emotions that define us.
Then follow three dorky reasons why Americans don't read poetry:
Reason 1: I've never understood it.
Reason 2: I can't get past the whole rhyming thing.
Reason 3: Poetry is for angst-ridden teens, hopeless romantics and the aforementioned weirdos in berets.
I just don't get it. What is the point of articles like this? Sometimes I feel like giving up on American English and learning Farsi or Arabic or Urdu, because that's where the action is right now.