Poetry and Payment

It has been stated in almost every non-fiction book on poetry I have read that there is no money to be made in poetry.  There might be money in prizes but the likelihood of winning those is akin to winning a lottery and even then a lottery is random, whereas poetry contests are influenced by human biases.

I am very careful nowadays not to publish poetry on the blog, unless its been given a chance at paying markets or competitions.  After all no use losing your first publication rights hey?

But then I thought, the payment is likely to fall between $5-50, I make somewhere around $30 an hour, just sitting at my desk at work.  So really what is the payment other than token recognition, confirmation that I’m well regarded, that I have met an editors standards.  Don’t get me wrong, being published I think brings gives me a an extra warm feeling, it’s an achievement.

I am tempted however to participate fully in something like Poetry Zoo, to hone my craft, to cultivate a group of friends and readers and have their comments, their appreciation be my payment.

I am not making an argument for payment by exposure.  If anyone does make money off poetry it should be the Poet. I think I am arguing for exposing yourself/ your work and letting the adulation, the criticism be your payment.

Your thoughts?


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