7 things you should know about: being a poet

Since lists and confessions seem to be on my mind; Aaron McCollough, a University English lecturer, offers his advice. Here’s the first two, read the rest by following the link:

  • There’s generally no such thing as royalties in poetry. You don’t get a dime from the books you publish, even if someone actually buys a copy. If your heart is set on being a professional poet, either score a lecturing job or get used to Ramen.
  • The most common way for new poets to get their work published is by entering in poetry contests. They cost money and are usually only won by people already established in the poetry community. Good luck.

(via Deborah Ager) Link.

Deborah Ager offers her 7 things here.

Coffeehouse Junkie offers 7 Things:

  1. Consider it a hobby if you live anywhere outside NYC.
  2. It is a selfish drug that deepens your addiction the more it is practiced.
  3. Open mic events are both the Poetry Den and Poets Anonymous.
  4. Get a real job–preferably a job that requires brainless activity so you can focus your addiction with lucidity.
  5. Get used to the rejection of literary journal editors, poetry contest judges, friends, family and countrymen.
  6. No matter how well crafted your poetry becomes, it will be read far less than the graffiti adorning urinals in Waffle Houses across the country.
  7. Expect to lose your house, spouse, dog, and dinner for the sake of poetry, and if you don’t lose any of the previously mentioned count your blessings because you’re probably losing sleep in exchange.

Peace out, my lit junkies.

Confessions : 08

01. I still have not purchased a Christmas Tree…
02. and I am not going out this weekend to purchase one.
03. So, there will be no Christmas tree this year.
04. Something about the holiday consumerism confuses me…
05. and depresses me…
06. and oddly I am grateful because book sales for the publishing imprint I helped launch is more than 20% better than projected.
07. I’m still sleeping in the living room.
08. I will not explain #7.
09. But I will explain #10.
10. My entire library and art supplies were moved to the garage.

The lost art of writing with pen

This afternoon I was working from The Drip and noticed several other WiFi and coffee addicts smashing away on keyboards and surfing the wild world web and… and I noticed several laptop users had notebooks (some basic notebooks… others moleskin notebooks) they were writing in or reading from.

The asymmetry of new and old technology is sublime. Despite the WiFi access, people at The Drip were actually writing–regardless of proper penmanship– in analog. Not typing directly into cyberspace or IMing or emailing or blogging, but writing the ways the ancients did–placing stylus to parchment. This represents the hope that our culture still has a grasp on the necessity of reading and writing and the cognitive exercise to accomplish that task.

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Subcriptions Down? Here’s some help.

For magazine publishers who are moaning about the plummeting subscription numbers, a word of advice from AdPulp (via 5280) Link.

To sell ads, you’ve got to attract a worthwhile audience. To attract an audience, you’ve got to give them compelling content. All of which convinces me that good journalism can be good business.

You know what the key ingredient to this success story is?

…we’ve had to more than triple our staff and increase our editorial budget…

Well, duh. Magazine publishers–still asking questions?

Confessions : 07

01. Homemade chocolate chip cookies taste really good at 10 p.m.
02. I’ve been sleeping in the living room since October.
03. This photo of the Burnsville Town Square reminds me of a weekend I didn’t have to work.
04. It also reminds me of how many days I missed chasing this illusion called a career.
05. I have $3 in my wallet…
06. and it has to last until payday.
07. I have not bought a Christmas tree yet…
08. because it costs more than $3.
09. And I don’t want a tree that has to be senselessly cut down and kept on life support until it slowly withers and dies around January 18th.
10. An Alpine Spruce is nice and will be decorated, watered and planted outside facing west when the time is right.
11. Also, I’m wearing a pair of Ugg boots a family member bought me nine years ago. They are comfortable, do not need repair, look great and make my other shoes jealous.

Feelin’ Asheville

It’s been a long time since I did an Asheville open-mic circuit on a Thursday night.

The Open Mic at Dripolator offered quite a full evening. Kapila hosts the event. The Drip sure pulls a crowd. Parking was an issue–I had to park two blocks away. Kapila read some of his work around 9 p.m. In one, he laments that this city is now called Ashevegas when Ashevillage is he would dream she be called.

I hung out for awhile and listened to several good singer/songwriters and poets. But I left with an annoying thought–I’m not feeling Asheville. It’s an expression I lifted from another local writer. He uses the expression when a line of prose or poetry works: “Yeah, man, I’m feelin’ it now.” I suspect the expression has jazz or blues roots.

The Courtyard Gallery Open Mic offered a sparse gathering, but I arrived after 10 p.m. So there may have been a larger crowd earlier. Jarrett Leone graciously invited me to read a couple poems I found in my notebook. The same notebook I haven’t been able open since the writers residency back in July. I read a couple blues poems because it seemed to be the only sketches I was feelin’. My voice strained to pull the words off the page and send it to the audience. Jim, a regular at the Courtyard and previously Beanstreets, greeted me warmly and told me he was thinking about me the other night when he was reading through my old chapbook, Late Night Writing. Before I left the Courtyard, Jarrett gave me a big hug and we shared a few words.

I began to feel Asheville again, but it was awkward–like kissing an ex-lover. A lover that has moved onto to someone else, and the space between us is more than physical. It is an annoying thought that troubles me tonight. I’m not feelin’ Asheville. And I don’t know why.