Great News: Poetry Readership Is Up!

The National Endowment for the Arts released information confirming that poetry reading is on the rise. It confirms what we have seen at readings, festivals, in-school participation, and on social media. According to the NEA’s Director of Research and Analysis Sunil Iyengar:

  • Nearly 29 million adults in the United States read poetry not required for work or school, the highest rate on record over a 15-year period of conducting the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.
  • Young adults are the fastest growing group of poetry readers among all age groups. Among 18-24-year-olds, the poetry-reading rate has doubled, to 17.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.7 percent in 2012. 
  • African Americans, Asian Americans, and other non-white, non-Hispanic groups now read poetry at the highest rates. 

These findings were released in a post on the NEA’s Art Works blog. The data is part of the latest Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, a research partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Census Bureau. 

At Mass Poetry, we are proud of our contribution to increasing the audience for poetry in the Commonwealth. During the past three years, Mass Poetry has hosted more than 125 schools through our Student Days of Poetry, put more than 20 poems on the T, and hosted numerous diverse audiences for our U35 reading series and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, which just celebrated its 10th year.  

In addition, we are part of a national Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 organizations in 11 cities dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. For more information about the Poetry Coalition, click here.

Our thanks to all who have supported Mass Poetry. Please consider making a donation so we can continue to broaden the audience of poetry readers, bring poetry to readers of all ages, and transform people’s lives through the power of words.