The net domestic product of poetry will always be zero

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At the Press Enterprise, Rattle editor Tim Green has an editorial titled No one’s getting rich, so how is poetry still thriving in America?

“Poems are little empathy machines, carving meaning out of the chaos of life, crafting the moments that matter, and mapping the realms of the imagination. This engagement and interrogation of the world through poetry has an inherent, participatory value, even if no one reads the poem but the author, and that value is self-evident. More poetry always creates more poets, who create more poetry — too much to read!—and the cycle continues.

“On a practical level, this also means there can never be enough consumers to sustain a poetry economy. Every buyer is also a seller. As the audience of readers grows, so does the body of writers, in lock-step equilibrium. The net domestic product of poetry will always be zero.”

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