6 December 2009

to earn a living from selling your poetry:
extremely unlikely

"Poetry is a broad church, and more people write it than read it. Even more people read it than buy it. The market for selling poetry is, in relation to the total book trade, an extremely small one, and it is complex, fragmented, well-managed and highly competitive. Because of this, it is notoriously difficult to coordinate a sustainable economic model for contemporary writing. You will be extremely unlikely to earn a living from selling your poetry. However, you may earn money from a range of cultural projects related to ‘acting’ as a poet, and some writers seek to earn their incomes from running workshops or courses, teaching English or Creative Writing, making festival appearances, giving paid readings, taking on residencies, and becoming cultural commentators and critics."

Chris Hamilton-Emery (Manchester, 1963), excerpted from 101 Ways to Make Poems Sell: The Salt Guide to Getting and Staying Published (Salt Publishing, 2006)

Further reading:

101 Ways to Make Poems Sell (Salt Publishing)

101 Ways to Make Poems Sell (Google Books)

Chris Hamilton-Emery Offers Advice on How to Make Poetry Submissions (Salt Publishing)

Chris Hamilton-Emery's MySpace profile

17 August 2009

The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize 2009

The Waywiser Press is now accepting submissions of poetry manuscripts for the fifth annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, named after Anthony Hecht (New York City, NY, 1923–Washington, DC, 2004), American poet and essayist, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and inventor of the double dactyl, a humorous poetic form which begins with two three-syllable nonsense words such as "Higgledy, piggledy."

Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and may not have published more than one previous collection of poems. Manuscripts must be written in English. There is an entry fee of $25 for residents of the USA and £15 for entrants in the rest of the world. Read the full guidelines here.


The winner receives $ 3,000 or £ 1,750 and publication of the winning manuscript by Waywiser Press, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

Postmark deadline: December 1st, 2009.

Further reading:

Times Topics: Anthony Hecht (The New York Times)

Anthony Hecht at poets.org, The Poetry Foundation and the English Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

21 July 2009

the last of the commune dwellers

"Gunn, who died in 2004, began his career as a hot young poet in England (he published his first book, “Fighting Terms,” when he was only 25) and was generally associated with the taut, plainspoken aesthetic favored by writers like Philip Larkin and Donald Davie. In 1954, he left England for San Francisco, where he eventually settled after studying with Yvor Winters at Stanford. Gunn embraced the city’s bohemian lifestyle — Edmund White called him “the last of the commune dwellers ... serious and intellectual by day and druggy and sexual by night” — and he grew increasingly interested in syllabics and free verse even as he continued to hone the metrical forms that distinguished his early career."

David Orr on Thom Gunn (Gravesend, Kent, 1929-San Francisco, CA, 2004), excerpt from Too Close to Touch, published in the Sunday Book Review, The New York Times, July 10, 2009

Further reading:

Poems by Thom Gunn on The Poetry Archive

Profile: Moving voice (The Guardian)

A Poet's life, part one, part two (San Francisco Chronicle)

5 May 2009

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate

Last Friday, Carol Ann Duffy was appointed Poet Laureate, the first woman to hold the title in the post's 341-year history. She succeeds Andrew Motion as Laureate and is appointed for a fixed-term of ten years. Duffy, 53, was born in Glasgow and spent her school years in Stafford. She studied philosophy at the University of Liverpool. Best known for her collection The World's Wife, she won the T.S. Eliot prize for Rapture. Duffy said that she will give the £5,750 annual payment away but has clearly stated that she will personally enjoy the 600 bottles of sherry traditionally given to the Laureate.

* * *

"Poetry can't be documentary. I'm not sure that any of the arts should be — but poetry, above all, is a series of intense moments — its power is not in narrative. I'm not dealing with facts, I'm dealing with emotion."

Carol Ann Duffy (Glasgow, 1955), as quoted by jeanette winterson in The Times, September 3, 2005

Further reading:

Carol Ann Duffy appointed new Poet Laureate (NDS)

First female Poet Laureate named (BBC News)

Profile: Carol Ann Duffy (BBC News)

Carol Ann Duffy becomes first woman poet laureate (The Guardian)

Profile: Carol Ann Duffy (The Guardian)

Carol Ann Duffy: The original good line girl (The Sunday Times)

Carol Ann Duffy: A poet laureate with a twist (The Independent)


Poetry by Carol Ann Duffy at The Guardian, Times Online and The Poetry Archive