Fiction Poetry Life
Word and Rhyme is a blog about how literature and life intersect.
Reading literary fiction, poetry and plays seems to have fallen out of favor in our modern age. Outside of high school or college English classes, people aren’t reading the giants of literature so much anymore. According to the National Endowment for the Arts 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts:
More than half of American adults read a work of literature or a book (fiction or nonfiction) not required for work or school. However, adults’ rates of literary reading (novels or short stories, poetry, and plays) dropped back to 2002 levels (from 50 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2012).
The NEA’s Reading at Risk report further states that the number of people who read literature in 1982 was 57 percent. Literature reading has decreased by 10 percentage points in 30 years.
Is Literature Relevant?
Are literary works read and valued less these days because they seem irrelevant and disconnected from modern everyday life? While it’s true that literature can sometimes appear inaccessible and hard to relate to, I believe it’s as relevant today as it has ever been.
I love movies, and television, and Broadway show tunes and country/western songs – all great sources of great stories. But nothing compares to losing yourself in the pages of a novel or short story that attempts to do more than tell a good tale, that attempts to unearth and examine raw human emotion and behavior without flinching, all while telling a good tale. And nothing compares to the way an observant poet can clarify and eternalize just a brief moment in time through a tightly controlled use of words, rhythm and syntax, proving all over again that less is more.
That’s what this blog is all about. With each post, I take a literary work, either classic or contemporary, and try to expand on one small aspect of the story, poem or play that is relevant to life in today’s fast-paced, electronic-driven world.
Who I Am
My name is Johanna Chambers. I’m a storyteller myself. After graduating from Northwestern University and spending eight years in the workaday world (while writing on the side), I went back to school and received an M.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University. I now have a laundry list of short stories that I’m forever revising. In recent years, it’s been difficult to commit time to writing and reading literature. This blog is my commitment to my belief that literature is still relevant and to the craft of writing.