Contemporary poetry started in the early 1950s. It began because a bunch of American poets got together and started to write in a contemporary vein. This continued strong until the late 1960s, when contemporary poetry ended. During its heyday, contemporary poetry was considered very popular.
Readers liked to read contemporary or hear it read by recognized contemporary poets. The appeal of contemporary poetry is simple to understand. It appeals to everyone’s enjoyment of the 1950s and 60s.
Robert Lowell is the greatest of contemporary poets. He wrote about Robert Lowell and what Robert Lowell felt. The great contemporary lady poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath also wrote about what they felt. Plath wrote about what Plath felt and Sexton wrote about what Sexton felt, respectively. Poems cannot be made about what Plath thinks about Lowell or Lowell about Sexton. John Berryman tried but it did not work.
John Berryman was a contemporary poet even so. Like all contemporary poets, he went to college. College is where contemporary poets came from. Even though poets still go to college, they are no longer contemporary. Contemporary poets have disappeared just as mysteriously as the residents of the Roanoke colony.
Nowadays, poets just write poetry and that’s that. Today’s poets cannot be contemporary because they did not spend enough time in the 50s and 60s. It was okay to suddenly discover W. B Yeats in the 50s. Nowadays, if you suddenly discover W. B. Yeats, you are surprising no one. Even though Yeats was a weirdo and probably took opiates, reading him will surprise no one. Same goes for Rimbaud and a host of other strange foreign poets. Sadly, the day of the contemporary poem (and contemporary poet) is over.
There are those who wish to bring back contemporary poetry. These people live in universities and have their own issues. If you feel an urge to write contemporary poetry, read the works of the contemporary poets mentioned in this report. You will find that they have written all the contemporary poetry that anyone needs. Instead of writing contemporary poetry, try writing haiku. Haiku is a poetic form just as timeless as frogs, apple blossoms, and snowflakes. You cannot go wrong with haiku.