My videopoetry site Moving Poems has only been around since last June, doesn’t have very many incoming links, and averages around 200 page views a day, so probably the following data don’t mean too much. I introduced poets’ names into post titles two months ago in an attempt to get more traffic from people who were typing, e.g., “Emily Dickinson poem” or “Blake Tyger video” into Google. As expected, traffic jumped. What I didn’t expect was who the most popular poets would turn out to be, based on page views of individual posts.
Because I use the very minimal stats plugin from WordPress.com, I don’t have information on any of the archive pages, and so I have no idea how many people might be visiting, for example, the Emily Dickinson archive page. Dickinson might well be more popular than the great Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos.
Still, I think these results do give some indication of the relative popularity of certain kinds of poetry on the web. Of the 260 posts I’ve published there so far, 128 feature poets from the U.S., and England is the second best-represented country with 34 posts. No other country even breaks ten. This reflects, I think, where the best English-language (or English-subtitled) videos are being made. But clearly it’s not Anglo-American poetry that people are looking for.
I kind of wish I had a more sophisticated stats system now, because I would love to know how many of the people looking for videos of Dickinson and Whitman are from the U.S.; both poets have huge global followings. One way or the other, it’s good to be reminded from time to time just how popular poetry still is beyond the borders of the United States.*
*Yes, I know that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. But Julia de Burgos is popular throughout Latin America, which is I imagine what accounts for her ranking here.