Clarissa Cruz
July 14, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Time to brush up on your iambic pentameter. The stuff of snoozy 10th-grade English classes is popping up in surprising places: Earlier this year, Seamus Heaney’s translation of the centuries-old epic poem Beowulf spent 12 weeks as a New York Times best-seller. ads took Robert Frost’s ”road less traveled,” while Ogilvy & Mather dusted off T.S. Eliot’s ”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” for an AIG insurance TV spot. It’s not all about old-school verse, either: Knopf hired Deborah Garrison, 35, author of 1998’s poetry collection A Working Girl Can’t Win, to attract fresh voices to its list. And American Airlines passed out 100,000 anthologies to international fliers during April’s National Poetry Month. ”Poetry fits in with this hyper-accelerated age,” says the American Poetry & Literacy Project’s Andrew Carroll. ”Compared with a novel, digesting a short form is much easier.”

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