Story highlights

Juan Felipe Herrera will be the next poet laureate of the United States

Some critics say poetry is on life support as a cultural force in America

But poets say the art form is still vital and is finding new audiences online

CNN  — 

Quick: Name a famous living poet.

Somebody. Anybody. No, not Maya Angelou. She died last year.

Unless you’re a literary scholar or a subscriber to The New Yorker, it’s not easy. That’s because poetry, once a preeminent form of entertainment, has long since receded to the far, dusty corners of popular culture.

Most Americans don’t encounter poetry in the course of their daily lives. Most mainstream magazines don’t publish it. Chain stores such as Walmart and Target don’t carry it. The cult of people who buy books of poetry in the U.S. is almost certainly dwarfed by th