Recently attended and participated in The Riverwood Poetry Festival. For a variety of reasons having to do with lousy educational priorities, the loss of the arts in schools and life, etc, etc, poetry doesn't make the front page anymore, although it does make The Readers' Digest-- see my entry about that-- and is rarely even back page material. It resides, at most, in the obituaries. But, pick up your paper or check online and you'll find a lot of poetry events looking for an audience. Let me first say that I don't think of slams as poetry and that much of what is at any poetry event is unappealing. With that disclaimer I urge you to get to these small poetry events.
You'll find some good poets, good people, good food, fair wine and a good time. There are people out there ready to surprise you with how good they are and you only need to find one to make the trip worth it. This is one of the places to go to steal-- ideas, styles, words, topics, inspiration. Don't go expecting to meet the next, or current, Frost or Eliot but do expect to find assurance that poetry is alive and well and you are not alone. And also be ready to discover that even the good ones aren't all that much different from you.
So long for now.