I was happy to read Kirsten Ogden's Poetry Placement on The Kenyon Review blog on Wednesday. I think she's on to something: using "poetry placement" like companies use "product placement" to promote their merchandise. I missed the episode of AMC's Mad Men that she is referring to; well - ok, I haven't seen a single episode. It looks like a smart, entertaining show, but 10 pm on a work night?...well, yes, it's past my bedtime. I think it's time to include it on my FiOs DVR. But I digress.
Mad Men is popular, and mentioning a sophisticated collection of poetry by one of the key poets of our modern age in the context of the show surely caught the attention of a lot of people...people who probably never heard of Frank O'Hara or his book...people who are now interested in reading it to see what all the hype is about. I didn't even see the episode, and I'm interested! That's pretty good.
Now, I'm not saying that if poetry is prominently mentioned on TV or in a movie, etc., the audience would necessarily feel the urge to go to their local Barnes & Noble to snatch it up. I mean, when you think about movies - each time you see a can of Coke or a FedEx box (Cast Away, anyone?) or such - that doesn't mean that you will go out and become a preferred Coke drinker after years of drinking Pepsi (just an example). But it will get your attention. And stay in your mind...Maybe make you curious... And poetry is much better for you than Coke. It's the real thing.