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US Poetry Rate Soars to New High

A persistent nation-wide malaise has pushed the number of Americans who habitually write poetry to a 51-year high of 43.6 million, the Poetry Bureau announced yesterday.

The national poetry rate of 14.3% was up from 13.2% last year, an increase that eclipsed predictions made by the bureau's gloomiest demographers.

"Up, up and away – the rocket flies high. Higher, higher it goes. An old man sheds a tear.  From patriotism? Pride? No, because this rocket is a projectile of sorrow – representing the rising number of homeless," recited USPB spokesman Russell Lohman.    

Linked to the lingering recession, the study found that most of the poems being penned in America today share a common sense of spiritual languor.

 "Yesterdays of sunshine, yesterdays of hope. Memories taunt like cruel schoolchildren. You used to laugh! You used to love! You used to… dream. Tomorrows of sorrow, tomorrows of pain. The clouds turn gray in my sky, the rainbows fade. Snow falls, but my world's children do not make snowmen. They are too sad about my lost soul," wrote Melanie Pendergrast of Sioux Falls, Iowa.  

Even more disturbing is a 100% rise in the number of Americans who speak in nothing but haiku.

Elizabeth Harmon, one of the two people in the US who share this affliction, remarked, "Trying all my life. Then I woke up, and gave up. Soon I will be dead."

Robert Slauson of Allentown, Pennsylvania says the rising poetry rate doesn't surprise him in the least.

"Poets used to be pretty rare in this blue collar town, but not anymore. These days you can't throw a rock without hitting an unemployed steel worker reciting an elegy on a street corner, or a lumberjack reading sonnets in the park," said Slauson, "And don't even think of setting foot in a coffee shop – it's nothing but 'my hollow soul' this, and 'We're all lost' that."

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