Monday, August 9, 2010

Average Poet Salaries!

Average Salary of Jobs with Titles Matching Your Search

poetry in Boston, MA


poetry in Iowa City, IA


[Blogger won't let me use the html code to put in a fancy-schmancy graph, you can follow this link to see for  yourself at]

But anyway---Yeah Boston Poets---put those Iowa Workshop brats in the hole! Of course, I think the Simply Hired salary data is hocus-pocus, but it generates a laugh all the same.  I do often wonder about how I might someday "monetize" my poetry writing energy and output. There are two professions I can say I was born to partake in.  One, sales. Two, poetry.

The making of a sale, the manufacture of the sales process is not unlike the making of a poem or the poetic process.  Both require depth of "product" knowledge, control of execution, a palpable degree of entertaining ability, and an overall resonating meaning that elicits thought from the prospect/reader.

In sales, I can make 50K in a bad year and clear 100K in a banner year.  Poetry, on the other hand, well I've been at it for a while, albeit without much marketing effort thus far---with poetry I couldn't make the cost of a cup a tea.  There are 26,000 new fiction titles that come out every year.  Who knows how many new poetry titles come out. There are nearly 90,000 publishers in the U.S. and they put out collectively more than 100,000 new titles every year across every genre and subject area.  The publishing industry nets somewhere between $30 and $40 billion each year.  Some markets are still growing about 30% annually, but those are tied to education.

For poets to make money, well, they must first be good and deserving an audience.  This criteria is a lenient one, it seems, as almost any New Yorker magazine reveals.  And if your name is Galway Kinnell or Shel Silverstein, you have raked in a fortune via the poetic process.  But neither a lifetime achievement award or a widely popular trans-generational poetry series can be claimed by every poet out there, even the good ones.

The most a good poet can expect in terms of compensation, beside the contributor's copies, is an active following, one with whom he may establish a long-term correspondence, out of whom he may find a link or cause one to be created through which real genuine thought flows, by which he may be continually inspired. So that he never loses the ability to render or perform his poetry. And given a steady practice, given the right circumstances, building off mood and attitude, he might eventually pen something worthy of the Great Hall and be remembered for a long time, perhaps even forever.

While $60,000 a year may turn out to be in reality for most a negative $60 incurred by entrance and reading fees, the real compensation of any poet, this Boston poet too, is the prospect of immortality for self and subject. Not even a banner year in sales can top that!

This post was inspired by a crock. poses as a Job Search board. It is an aggregate scripting that generates job posting content to draw you in, get you to sign on, and then, if you opt-in (either on purpose or by accident) to sell you as a lead to, most often, educational institutions (glorified online schools) Every job board has to monetize in some way, but this method is the bottom of the barrel.

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