Great News: New Research Proves that Poetry Reading Is on the Rise

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts released information confirming that poetry reading is on the rise. Specifically, according to the NEA’s Director of Research and Analysis Sunil Iyengar:

  • Black, Asian American, and other non-white, non-Latinx groups now read poetry at the highest rates, and poetry reading has nearly doubled among Latinx readers.
  • Young adults are the fastest growing group of poetry readers among all age groups. Among 18–24 year olds, the poetry reading rate has doubled, to 17.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.7 percent in 2012.
  • Nearly 29 million U.S. adults read poetry not required for work or school, thehighest rate on record over a 15-year period.

These findings were released in a post on the NEA’s Art Works blog. The data is part of the latest Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, a research partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Census Bureau.

At Kundiman, we are proud of increasing the audience for poetry in our communities. Kundiman was founded 15 years ago to create a affirming yet rigorous space for Asian American writers. We see the arts as tools of empowerment, education, and liberation.

Each year, our programs––our Retreat, Readings & Workshops, Poetry Prize, and Kavad storytelling––reach thousands of readers nation-wide. We have mentored over 200 fellows, who have published nearly 200 books and chapbooks, and they credit Kundiman to being instrumental to their growth. 

In addition, we are part of a national Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 organizations in 11 cities dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. For the past two years, members of the Poetry Coalition have conducted programming on shared themes of social importance including poetry and migration, and poetry and the body.

For more information about the Poetry Coalition, please visit:

We are honored to see our work's impact on Asian Americans' reading throughout the nation and especially humbled to work alongside other members of the Poetry Coalition to continue the work of reaching more young adults, women, and people of color in a time when poetry is so needed.