Career Poets

More poetically than I, Anne Waldman asks whether it is illuminating to think of poetry as a career, or in relation to careers. The connection to institutions. To commerce. The origin of the word career in chariot races.

I would rather think of trajectories than races. Freeing the work from both competition and from establishmentarian connotations. I understand the establishment and can work with it on my terms. My best work speaks to it, but is not bound up with it.

Waldman (page 16): “Start with poem as career. Perhaps, ideally, where poetry presents, offers, little product value…”

Waldman (page 17): “…a present increasingly debilitated by concerns of economics, professionalism…”

Waldman (page 19): [French carrière from Italian carriera / from Provençal carreira from Latin carrus.]

Waldman (page 19): “A course or progress through life or history; an occupation or profession engaged in as a life-work; a way of making a livelihood and advancing oneself. / Should poets be paid for what they do? Should they be housed and fed for their dulcet sound? Sing for their supper?”

Waldman (page 20): “What is the story? Is it a calling or a career?”


2 thoughts on “Career Poets

  1. i only wish
    that a poet
    could be a profession

    that would be so lovely
    to see on street corners

    instead of the
    guy who talks to

    wait — he
    could be that poet – eh?

  2. The most important thing is that we make our “vocation our vacation” as Mark Twain once said. If we enjoy it and it brings us a salary that we can live off then yes!! 🙂 Then again, it takes a special little something to be a poet like that. Who knows??? I know I don’t.

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