This just in: Def Poetry on Broadway will be closing on Sunday! Not sure how I feel about that to be honest. Not having seen it, I can't really comment but, based on what I've heard from people I respect that HAVE seen it, it's sort of a double-edged sword. Many poets (good ones, at least) felt it was a dumbed-down version of the best of what we do. A polished spin on Friday nights at the Nuyorican a couple of years back, perhaps. Most agree that they failed to take full advantage of the medium and, on top of charging $75 for something you can get for $5 three times a week, probably wasn't the best recipe for success.
Even dumbed down, though, poetry on Broadway has to be looked at as a positive step for both the audience and artists alike. It'll be interesting to see where Russell Simmons goes from here with the form and where the form itself goes. Kind of surprised he didn't try to make it through the summer. Knowing many of the poets in the show, I mostly feel bad for their loss of work.