A young relative of mine is in her first year of a degree at a Russell Group university; her subject is Eng Lit and German, and this term she started the English poetry module. Her seminar group was asked to bring along their favourite poem. Most of the group took a poem by Carole Anne Duffy, some took a well-known poem by one of the Romantics. In discussion, all of the group confessed to not reading poetry (except when required for study). The tutor seemed to have been expecting this, as she told them that the purpose of this module was to get them to start reading poetry. It's clear to me, that the choice of Carole Anne Duffy was made simply because she is on the A-level syllabus, and that it was less a case of her being a favourite, and more that she was the only poet they'd read. Fifty years ago, perhaps thirty years ago even, such a situation would have been inconceivable. After all, these are English undergraduates! It brought home to me the fact that poetry really is crushingly unpopular, at least amongst the young. But why? Is it because we're now a visual culture, rather than oral or literary one? But people read novels, and memorize song lyrics - a form of poetry after all. Is it - as I tend to think - because what people are interested in is determined by marketing, and poetry isn't marketed, partly because it's doesn't lend itself to being marketed. TV adverts have introduced James Brown and Marvin Gaye to whole new generation, but you couldn't so easily use a poem to sell a product; what the poem is saying is too likely to conflict with the advertiser's message.
Re-reading the above, I'm not sure it's quite right to say poetry is 'unpopular'; it's more that it doesn't grab people's attention, it's not on their radar; which might support the idea that it's about marketing.