Probably every day, every week, every month and every year, someone say the written word is dying, dead, not loved, on the way out, But I don't believe that, and if you're reading these words, you probably don't believe that either.
I've just read an interesting article by South Australian poet and neuroscientist, Ian Gibbins. He's written a broad ranging run down on what's happening in Poetry in Australia at the moment. If you interested in knowing more, follow this link and all with be revealed.
In the meantime, a less measured look at it from where I sit, out on the Adelaide Plains, 60kms from Adelaide. I'm the President of the the Adelaide Plains Poets inc, a group that has varied in size and responsibilities over the 7 years it's been in existence. One thing has remained constant - APPI started with a national Poetry Competition, and there's been one national poetry competition ever since.
The competition is open to adults as well as secondary and primary schools students. The cost for adults to enter is $5 for each poem entered, and there is no cost for the students. This was a deliberate thing, the competition secretary is keen to have young people learn the delights you can get from sharing your poetry with others. The cost has stayed the same, as other costs rise. APPI wants to remain open to all kinds of people, even or especially to those for whom a larger fee may be difficult to find.
The winners have been a broad range of people, men, women, boys and girls - some first time entrants, some well practised and widely published poets. The one thing that has remained the same is the wonderfully creative ways poets have responded to the theme for the competition.
The themes for the Adelaide Plains Poets Inc Poetry Competition have covered a variety of things, from the first theme 'Birds of the Adelaide Plains' to the last (and current) theme 'The Elements', and the others in between. The competition secretary marvels at the delightful ways the poets meet the theme in their own way. The themes have been chosen deliberately to allow for broad choices in how the theme is met, and apart from a few occasions, this has led to quite different poems received each year.
If you're interested in trying out your poetry skills, why not give it a go - only $5 per poem and you could be up for winning good money! Even the students prizes are monetary, and as I, as a mother know, children are totally clued up on the benefits of cash in hand!
The entry form and guidelines are on this site, so cut and paste, then get writing about The Elements!
Going on from poetry competitions, there's poetry readings. These can happen in writing group meetings, in classrooms, workshops, halls and hotels. The Poetry reading I attended most recently is the SA Poetry Slam Final. This was an exciting night at Upper Ground Light Square in Adelaide, and had the ten winners from the heats which took place in libraries around Adelaide and beyond.
The atmosphere was electric and the entrants were truly amazing. The audience was spellbound by the performances of the competing poets, in a competition where any of them could have been the winner! Young and old, and all ages in between these ten people were there to share their words and win the prize! And what was that prize? All expenses paid trip to Sydney to compete with the winners of the Poetry Slam competitions held around Australia, good stuff!
So, from my knowledge of what's happening around the country, Poetry is certainly not dying. I'm involved in a new group, Chapter and Verse, meeting weekly in Gawler, and even though the reason for starting the group, was to go further with writing, that doesn't mean poetry isn't also a part of the things going on. The meetings are held at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler, where there have been Poetry Readings held once a month for some years. The numbers are increasing monthly, and the interest has grown.
I can honestly say, from where I'm looking, the future of Poetry is looks like it's alive and kicking arse!