Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up



Last night, I attended the launch of poet Jennifer Jean's new chapbook, In the War. It is a brave account of a daughter of a Vietnam vet, and how she and her brother survived a childhood of poverty and foster care. For Jennifer, this book is about healing, and last night she shined. This book is the first of many great moments for her as a poet and writer.

Will post pictures soon.


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I just heard that the poet Ai passed away on Friday. She was a talented writer, known for her persona poems and dramatic monologues. In 2009, she was the recipient of a USA Ford Fellowship. Here's her bio. Rest in peace.


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Yesterday, I received a question on Twitter that I needed more than 140 characters to answer.

What is the career path for a poet?


I can only answer from my point of view, but I think the opportunities are wide open. But poets have to define for themselves what it means to be successful.


There's been a lot of talk of careerism and poetry on different Web sites. I think you have to be persistent and talented to make a career in poetry, just as in any field. With the many different ways to publish and the opportunities there are read in front of audiences, you can carve out a niche for yourself. However, the talent has to be there; otherwise, no one reads the books or comes to the readings.

I'd like to see more poets making money from the work they put into their craft.

6 comments:

Kells said...

Great response! I'm linking you up with my response in a separate post.

Jessie Carty said...

i think i was a bit naive when i started my mfa program. i kind of thought i'd be making a career change into doing some college teaching. i don't think i realized how flooded the market was. that being said, i'm happy where i am with my writing "career" even if i am not making any money doing it. it is almost a relief to not be financially tied to art :)

Jennifer said...

jan, thanks for the shout out!

and i'm glad you mentioned persistance--when childhood friends found out that i'd a book released they were all almost startled that i'd accomplished "my dream." persistance was definitely a main ingredient :)

January said...

It was a lovely launch party, Jennifer. Will post pictures soon.

January said...

Jessie, I have always said that MFA programs don't do enough to prepare students for living in the real world.

And who's to say that you won't make money down the road. Lots of established poets published their first books in their late 30s and early 40s. It takes a while to create enough of a following to generate an income. Give it time.

January said...

Kelli, I loved your post. Will comment on your blog soon.

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