Poetry Needs a Revolution

The starving poet business
is no good nowadays.

— Henrik Ibsen

Poetry is hard.
To write.
To market.
To sell.
To find.
Sonnetry.online is here to make it easier.

In fact, in the business of literature, poetry might be the single hardest thing. Everyone loves poetry in one form or another, whether Robert Frost or Bob Dylan’s songbook or Kanye West’s latest album. Everyone knows it’s the most beautiful form of literature; but, for aeons, no one has been able to figure out how to help poets sell their poetry.

Today, in our increasingly digital world, there are seemingly countless ways for lovers of literature to find and purchase their favorite author’s novels, novellas, short stories and nearly anything else under the sun. But this also means it gets ever more difficult for your little poem to stand out or even be noticed at all. Poetry is alone in the arts with no real means for distribution or sale.

Even if a reader loved someone’s poems and wanted to purchase just a few of them, there’s no clear way to do that now and no market tailor made for just that purpose. We have music stores for when you hear that one song, bookstores for when you hear about that new novel, Netflix, Hulu and whatever for the latest show. But after you come across the first line of Kevin Young’s “Urgent Telegram to Jean-Michel Basquiat” or Jana Prikryl’s “Ars Poetica”, you might be moved to purchase just those poems on their own; but, finding no way to purchase them without getting their entire books along with them, you go to find something else, a Game of Thrones episode or the latest Katy Perry hit song or maybe to see if John Grisham has written anything lately. Maybe you want the actual poem in an easily read and portable format but there’s nowhere to do that.

How can poets reach these readers?

Bookstores have always been tailored to longer forms of literature. Poems, being more songs than stories in their most basic form, need their own form of distribution beyond being categorized along with all of the other literature on bookstore shelves. Poetry needs a revolution like the one music and longer form literature went through and are going through now.

If the goal is to reach more readers, then the path is to lower the barrier to entry in order to make the work more accessible. This isn’t about the style of poetry, but about the ability for your readers to actually find and purchase your poetry. Aside from buying an entire collection of work, there isn’t really any way for someone to find just one poem and purchase it. That’s the gateway to getting more people to notice the work.

Instead of expecting readers to subscribe to the latest issue of Poetry magazine or the New Yorker, or being forced only ever to give away your writing on Instagram with no compensation, there should be a better way to at least make poetry available for sale to the public.

The question is often asked “Is poetry dead?”. Of course poetry can’t die anymore than literature or art itself can die. The problem isn’t that poetry is like a dying language no one speaks anymore. Instead, poetry is a wonderful conversation being whispered at the lowest volume. We need to speak up.

That’s where Sonnetry.online comes in. Sonnetry.online will fill the need for a marketplace where poets can sell their written and/or spoken verse to readers around the world without being lumped together with endless longform prose. Poets will be able to sell and readers will be able to buy individual poems, entire chapbooks, poetry collections and anything in between. It’s that simple. Poets should have more choice in how to distribute their work to readers and give their verse a chance to spread and grow and breathe in the world. Readers should be able to find beautiful new poems by writers from anywhere in the world and not be forced to purchase an entire poetry volume when they really just want a few or even one poem. Sonnetry.online will be a platform to help you do just that.

More information coming soon at sonnetry.online.

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