Space on a commercial bookshelf is mainly reserved for the dead or those that fuck ducks or are peculiar in some other way, it also helps to live in London. This perhaps is not strictly true but it does appear to be thus at times for ‘normal poets’. Space on bookshelves is just incredibly difficult to come by and the reason is fairly simple to understand. Imagine for a moment that you own a small bookshop and your wages come from the books you sell. Each bookshelf then has to generate an income. Ideally you would like fast turnover high profit books to populate that space. Most poetry isn’t either of these so why would you give it prime space or any space at all.
You’ll see the standard ‘poetry section’ granted but these will be populated by well, mainly the dead and not the difficult. I never get miffed when poetry bookshop owners won’t stock any of my books; its a tough business and I’m just grateful not to be amongst the dead, I’ve also no inclination of fucking ducks and no intention of living in fucking London.