Answer in the comments section, if you like, or just let it be rhetorical…
How many truly “great” poems would you guess are written in the English language in a typical calendar year?
Note: I understand that “great” is an indefinable word. So, for the purpose of this question, let’s just settle on a temporary partial definition, and to eliminate arguments let’s make it as quantitative and reader-defined as possible. Let’s use this: A great poem is one that, at the time and place of its introduction, inspires an exceptionally intense or vivid reaction on the part of a few readers, while simultaneously inspiring a significant general reaction on the part of many of its readers, and that can continue to inspire these two forms of reaction across large enough distances of time and/or space (between the poet and the reader) that the poem is forced to communicate without the aid of what we could reasonably call “a shared culture.”
As follow-up questions to #1 then, I’d suggest the following:
1b. Is this above definition close enough to valid to allow an answer?
1c. Is your estimation trending up or down? In other words, would you guess more or less great poems came from 2009 than 1999, or 1909, or 1609?
1d. How does this annual number of great poems compare to the annual number of great works in other art forms, like fiction, theatre, film, or the visual arts?
1e. Is the number of great poems produced in a given year correlated in any way (either positively or negatively) with the number of “good” poems produced, or the number of “bad” poems, or the number of poems alltogether?
If I get some interested responses I might weigh in myself a little later.