NEA Survey Shows Poetry Is on the Rise

Earlier this month, new data from the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts was released regarding poetry reading in the United States. This survey confirms a trend that Andrews McMeel president Kirsty Melville recognized several years ago: Poetry is a burgeoning category. The genre has been gaining popularity ever since, and poetry reading continues to rise.

According to the NEA survey, poetry reading increased by 5 percent from 2012 to 2017 — a genre that, until 2012, had seen a steady decline since 1992. Data shows that the poetry-reading rate has increased across nearly all demographic sub-groups, but growth among young adults has been particularly steep. In the age group of 18- to 24-year-olds, the poetry-reading rate has more than doubled in the last five years.

While there are numerous factors that have contributed to this expanding readership, the evident spike in poetry’s popularity can largely be attributed to social media, a platform that has provided established and budding creators alike with a new way to share content and connect with readers.

Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets, reasoned in a recent article by Quartzy that “it’s fair to conclude, based on the large number of followers and book sales Rupi Kaur and other poets who are sharing their work on social media have experienced, that they have contributed to the upswing in young people now engaging with poetry.”

According to a recent article in Bustle, a number of organizations and programs have also contributed to the spike, including “… robust outreach activities and efforts, many of which we support through our grants to publishers and presenters, fellowships to individual poets, Poetry Out Loud, and the NEA Big Read,” NEA Director of Literature Amy Stolls told the NEA Art Works Blog.

An early adopter of this new wave of contemporary, accessible poetry, Andrews McMeel is at the forefront of the growing industry. Literary magazine Poets & Writers stated in their July/August issue: “No publisher has cornered that market more effectively than Andrews McMeel, which, in addition to being one of the first companies to produce adult coloring books, published 11 of the top 20 best-selling poets last year, including Kaur, Sin and Lovelace.”


Andrews McMeel is proud to be the leading publisher of poetry, but more important, to be an avid supporter of talented, creative minds in this revitalized genre. Passionate, earnest and emotionally intense, poetry is thriving more than it has in over a decade, and by the looks of it, it won’t be slowing down any time soon.