Who reads poetry? Poets read poetry. Students read, not always by choice, poetry they are assigned. Who are the other readers of poetry?
Certainly, people get things from poetry that they don’t get from reading novels, non-fiction and news.
“It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
of what is found there.”
In the collection Who Reads Poetry: 50 Views from ‘Poetry’ Magazine, people are asked why they read poetry. The answers are taken from the magazine’s column “The View From Here.”
Musician Neko Case calls poetry “a delicate, pretty lady with a candy exoskeleton on the outside of her crepe-paper dress.”
An anthropologist, Helen Fisher, turns to poetry while researching the effects of love on the brain, “As other anthropologists have studied fossils, arrowheads, or pot shards to understand human thought, I studied poetry. . . . I wasn’t disappointed: everywhere poets have described the emotional fallout produced by the brain’s eruptions.”
Ask that question to a Google search and you will find many other people have asked and answered the question.
Dan Chelotti gives many answers, begiinning with: “Read poetry because of the times you have stopped to look at rain fall through the light of a street lamp and wished you knew the words that made it what it was. Read poetry because you are lonely and full of wild abandon. Read poetry so when you are no longer lonely and are wrapping your arms and legs around your beloved your beloved will tell you I have never known arms and legs to have such wild abandon. Read poetry so a part of you stays in what you see, so what you see stays with you…”
Matthew Zapruder covers the question in a bit broader way in his book Why Poetry which attempts to answer not only why we should read it but also why we write it.