There’s zero barrier to entry with poetry — the rules for writing sonnets are right there, and not even the American educational system has so far managed to destroy literacy completely. If you want to go mano-a-mano with Shakespeare, your word processing program even comes with a dictionary and a thesaurus. There are 350+ million people in America today; Elizabethan England had maybe 3 million. Just as a matter of simple probability, there should be some world-class sonnet-writers around right now…
… but, of course, there aren’t, because sometime in the later 19th century our universities started awarding degrees in English Literature. You’ve got to justify all those years in grad school somehow, and so by the 1950s you had J. Evans Pritchard, PhD, laying down mathematical formulae for judging a poem’s excellence. And now only Diversity Pokemon write poetry. Seriously, can you even name a 20th century poet, let alone quote him?
I suppose I should consider myself fortunate that I have Facebook friends who will point me to contemporary verse without even the slightest hint of irony.
That said, the finest sonnet I ever wrote turned out to have only thirteen lines — though they were very good lines, I suspect. (It’s been a long time since I even tried to remember it.)