When will poetry die?

Last night I had a discussion with some fellow poets about whether poetry is capable of dying. Poetry has been around us since we, as humans, have been able to speak, so we know that poetry has survived. But is Poetry capable of dying? I thought up a scenario where humans evolve to become sea animals and because we are sea animals we do not have hands, but fins. We lose what is the most important tool to a writer; opposable thumbs. Will poetry be dead then, if we can’t write it? “No,” as one of the fellow poets said, “because we will come up with a way to use our fins and we will write with whatever material we can get.” So then I came up with another scenario where all humans die of a sudden natural disaster. In this scenario we all die but all works of literature ever written is kept in an indestructible box that can only be opened by putting in the code “0000.” What if the giraffe evolves to create its on language–a language that is not at all similar to ours–and it finds our literature, but isn’t able to understand it? Is poetry dead then? There are two ways one can see this scenario. Either poetry is dead, or it is alive in a different species. For example, we are dead, but maybe because of our deaths the giraffes will create their own poetry based on how we died–the same way that we write about dinosaurs or any other extinct species. And maybe the giraffes have their own kind of poetry, so poetry is alive in their species.

So, my question is, will poetry ever die? I’ve been having an existential crisis, if you can’t tell.


db pena

2 Replies to “When will poetry die?”

  1. Taking your apocalyptic scenario into account and considering the hyper-evolution of giraffes and a creation of a new language, perhaps poetry won’t die in that respect. If the giraffes have evolved to become an organism as psychologically complex as human beings in adapting a language and whatnot, couldn’t one also say that they’d be capable of imagination? Which in a large part, is what all types of writing consists of.

    However, let’s say that earth exploded and all creatures that inhabited it died (including cockroaches), what would happen then? Is literature only bound to the human condition? Is it safe to then assume that poetry/literature is something that can only be accomplished by and fettered to human beings? This whole comment may seem ridiculous, but it’s kind of scary to consider. Is all writing so insignificant outside of the entire human-being community?

  2. woah Diego, this post was pretty far out there. However, I *highly* enjoyed reading it! It’s hard to imagine poetry dying. Well, it’s hard to imagine anything dying out really—nothing really seems so finite. I definitely like the point that J brought up about the thought of poetry existing outside of the parameters of human existence. I think that often times we get too myopic in our understandings of the universe and we forget that worlds exist outside of the human one we have created for ourselves. Literature exists in the imaginations of any living being. It’s hard to say whether poetry will ever “die” because if it stills exists in the minds of sentient beings, yet not voiced or written, does this mean it isn’t “alive”?

    I’ve always been a bit of a misanthrope; I’ve always thought humans lack the ability to see the universe outside of themselves…so I think that NO, poetry cannot/will not die.

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