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Not only is poetry dead as a market, it's arguably even deader as a form. The profession of poetry is all about making the connections you need to get a book published, at which point you can work (for pennies) at a community college teaching poetry, and have as good a right as anyone to introduce yourself to chicks as "a poet." You can't be utterly illiterate, though, unless you're a protected minority.

But "Poetry," capital P, is an entirely different and quite solid business. I wouldn't at all count this startup out. It's called a vanity press, honey! The profession of fleecing people who want to be Poets may not be the oldest, but it's got to be at least fourth or fifth.

(It's also worth noting that before, I don't know, 1850 or so, the distinction between a vanity press and a real one was by no means clear. Plenty of reputable authors invested in the production costs of their early works. It was almost embarrassingly easy for a good writer to acquire a reputation based on one work - Dr. Johnson went from nobody to lion after one 300-line poem, his imitation of Juvenal's Third Satire. Of course, the tennis court had a net then.)

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