At the Decatur Book Festival I discovered that while many of the kids and teens were not overly receptive to and quite bored or turned-off by "poetry" and my rather literary appearing books, once I told them about the TV reality show I'm producing where poets would compete for a book contract, their interest was obvious, and positive - actually excited. Older people too, some of whom almost gasped at the concept (which really warmed my heart).
For what it's worth, I believe the American Idol format has found a way to encourage large numbers of people to be interactive, discerning, and supportive of the creative spirit. I've also watched America's Got Talent and find that over the years the acts that compete are getting better and better, sometimes extraordinary. Would we ever be exposed to these unique talents were it not for the desire in many of us to express our creativity in a format that is accepting of pure talent even in those who do not have opportunities to follow an academic career where they can meet influential friends, who, unlike Lady Gaga et al., are not at all adept at marketing themselves, or cannot afford to hire others to help them?
While walking around the festival I also approached a university booth and mentioned the show idea. I did not get an overly enthusiastic response. I am wondering whether this is because I mentioned "American Idol" and caused an automatic rejection due to perceived status and/or quality differences in the high level of programs they offer or, as my friend said, maybe they don't watch American Idol. My question is, would a TV reality show for poetry somehow build a more widespread interest in poetry and cause a change in perception about poetry being a dull and often difficult to understand task?
Next time I do a literary festival I will bring my laptop to allow visitors to watch my one minute video about the show. I tried to post it here on Redroom, but being not so technically inclined, I failed to get it right :-( So, here's the link to my website if you are so inclined to watch it. http://www.aliceshapiro.com
Happy Labor Day!
Causes Alice Shapiro Supports
The Shepherd's Chapel