Poetry reading is on the rise, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.
In a post on the NEA’s Art Works blog, Sunil Iyengar, director of research and analysis for the NEA, cited data from 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. According to the survey, nearly 29 million U.S. adults read poetry not required for work or school. That marks the highest rate on record over a 15-year period of conducting the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.
Young adults were identified as the fastest growing group of poetry readers. The poetry-reading rate has more than doubled from 8.7 percent in 2012 to 17.5 percent in 2017 in the 18-24 age group. The survey also showed that African-Americans, Asian-Americans and other non-white, non-Hispanic groups now read poetry at the highest rates.
This summer, the University of Arizona Poetry Center is holding several events that are open to the public for those who want to expand their knowledge of poetry.
Main Library Poetry Circle: Logan Phillips
Saturday, June 16, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave.
This free event is led by docents from the UA Poetry Center. No preparation or knowledge of poetry is necessary. Attendees will read from favorite poets, learn about new poets and share views. Each participant will receive a packet of the poems to be read and discussed, sourced from the UA Poetry Center’s world-renowned collection.
Summer Reading: July Westhale & Felicia Zamora
Saturday, July 5, 7 p.m.
UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St.
2018 UA Poetry Center Summer Resident July Westhale will read from her work alongside writer Felicia Zamora at this free public event. A question-and-answer session will be held following the reading.
Consider the Body: The Poetics of Disease and Health, with Laura Maher
Wednesdays, July 11-Aug. 1, 5-7 p.m. ($132 cost)
UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St., Conference Room 207
Registration is required for this four-week course, which will consider the ways in which language shapes our understanding of our bodies and how it impacts our experiences of good health and illness. Through readings, conversations, and writing and movement exercises, we will explore how we describe our bodies and their functions (or dysfunctions), how medicine and health care systems describe our bodies and their functions, and how poetry regards both. With a focus on inquiry and creative thinking, students will engage with texts — both their own writing and the writing of others — to explore how we name the body in health, disease, ability, disability and more.
The UA Poetry Center, which is part of the UA College of Humanities, participates in the Poetry Coalition, a national alliance of more than 20 organizations in 11 cities dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to society and the important contribution poetry makes in peoples’ lives.
Last year, 113,478 people benefited from the UA Poetry Center’s website and digital outreach programs, library collection, reading and lecture series, youth programs, community classes and conversations, and exhibits.