How to Make a Living as a Poet

How to Make a Living as a Poet

How to Make a Living as a Poet

How to Make a Living as a Poet


How to Make a Living as Poet details how Gary Max Glazner and a diverse group of American scribes--including Sherman Alexie, Mary Karr, Naomi Shihab Nye, Paul Polansky and Beau Sia--found ways integrate poetry into their financial until they could do what many writers consider unthinkable: list their life's passion on their tax forms.Glazner should know. After selling the flower shop he owned for 18 years the champion of the 1998 Poetry Olympics worked as a poet-in-residence at a hotel (leaving 45,000 copies of his poems on guests pillows!), secured sponsorship to take 100 poets on an 8,000-mile tour of America and even got Pontiac to hire him to promote a new car. From the story of his own project using poetry to help Alzheimer's patients to an interview on the nuts and bolts economics behind the world's only "Poetry Diner," Glazner details how creativity off the page can spark even new approaches to writing itself. From marketing ideas for how to break out of the "poetry ghetto" to the how's and why's of analyzing the economic impact of slam festivals, Glazner shows exactly how its possible to not just survive but thrive off one's art.


As long as men can breathe or eyes can see
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

—William Shakespeare

SO YOU WANT TO BE IMMORTAL? Only through great writing can you hope to join the cannon, have your words live on, and be added to the long history of poetry. The goal of this book is to help give you more time to work on your art and to integrate poetry more fully into your life.

It is a step-by-step breakdown of various strategies for using the skills learned as a poet to make your living as a poet. It also contains life lessons from working poets on how to integrate the world of commerce with the art form of poetry. Besides the traditional paths of teaching and working with publishers, this book will expose more innovative guerrilla techniques like business sponsorships, unusual poet-in-residencies, and using new media to build the poetry audience.

After studying poetry in college I worked for eighteen years as a florist. I also worked on my poetry, giving readings and producing several reading series. I was busy and productive but my goal was to be a full-time poet. In 1998, I sold my retail flower shop and traveled to eighteen countries in Asia and Europe meeting poets, working on translations, and writing poetry. This was my first step in becoming a full-time poet.

By selling my business I gave myself a grant to travel the world and study poetry. I invested in my career as a poet. Since returning to the United States, I have worked as a poet-in-residence at a hotel distributing over 40,000 poems. I have secured a sponsorship to take one hundred poets on an 8,000-mile tour of America and make a documentary film, Busload of Poets, about the project. I have edited an anthology documenting the first ten years of the Poetry Slam . . .

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