Is poetry given little regard today because of the trend toward materialisim in contemporary society?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poetry does seem to get ignored amongst the digital chatter today on social networks with everyone, or most everyone, being "plugged in" to devices for the fast-food like consumption of updates, tweets, chat, and digital games and entertainment. As society swirls around us in a cacophony of sounds and images lasting no longer than a second or two before the next edit takes you somewhere else, there seems to be no time to digest thoughtfully written and insightful literature that needs to be read and reread to absorb its riches. This includes beautiful poetry of the traditional and contemporary kind, but also short stories as well.

We certainly do live in a materialistic society that has contributed to the decline of thoughtful, prolonged, contemplative reading sessions. Reading a book of poems demands the attention of the reader, who is willing to devote some quiet time with a good book in a quiet room. This would mean seeing the value in such reading that stimulates one's imagination and precipitates some analysis of what is being read. The best poems get better with age and give more of themselves to the reader upon multiple readings over time.

A poem like "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot never waxes old and unimportant; it is a poem that is always relevant. There are many poems and stories of this type that are ignored by people today because of their desire for " quick, flashy entertainment" not "deeper enlightenment" that demands some critical "thinking" on their part. In fact, as we bow to the altar of materialism, we in fact are on route ourselves to becoming hollow men and women.

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