The market value of a poem

If poems were not easily reproduced — if, as with paintings, owning a copy of a poem was obviously a poor alternative to owning the original — how much would an original Armitage sell for? A Larkin? An Eliot? A Marvell?

2 replies on “The market value of a poem”

But isn’t that the marvel of poems: that they are the only artform in the world that can exist and be passed between people without ever existing in hard copy? that they cannot be owned, or locked away because all you have to do is learn it by heart and you have that poem forever?

It is the most democratic artform out there in some ways–for the creators and consumers, low cost and limitless output.

And anyway, if you are looking for ‘originals’, manuscript copies fulfil that function pretty nicely, as might a signed 1st edition.


I’m not suggesting that the world – or poetry – would be better. Just different. I think it’s interesting to think about how. It would completely change the place of poetry in our culture, I think.

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