67% of US adults have read Edgar Allan Poe
National Poetry Month is quickly coming to a close, marking its 21st year as a recognized cultural celebration. Every April, schools develop tailored curricula, libraries host special events and authors sponsor writer’s workshops, all in order to encourage individuals to tap into their poetic side. This year, YouGov decided to join in the fun, surveying a group of over 5,000 US adults in order to crown the most popular poet.
Respondents were presented with a curated list of ten influential authors, then asked to select which from the group they had ever read. Beating out classic wordsmiths like William Shakespeare, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe came out on top as the most read poet.
Poe, who is well known for his macabre imagery, may seem like the unlikely victor, however the majority of Americans have read his work (67%). Shakespeare follows in close second with 64%.
While female authors did, sadly, tend to trail behind their male counterparts, over a third of US adults have read Emily Dickinson (45%) and Maya Angelou (39%). These numbers come amid a large movement towards restructuring school syllabi in order to expose youth to a more diverse set of writers – writers outside of the traditional western canon.