Giving A Reading (And Making A Living)

Many thanks to Claire Zulkey at the MBToolbox for getting the go-ahead from Soft Skull Press and republishing Gary Mex Glazner’s very helpful advice on giving a (poetry) reading. Claire has posted this succinct and yet somewhat lengthy information in two segments: one and two.

This information comes from Glazner’s book, How to Make a Living as a Poet, which I read, enjoyed, and reviewed (albeit in a very short, capsule-like review) when it was first published. And I don’t need to ask Soft Skull Press (or anyone else) to republish it! Enjoy!


by Gary Mex Glazner
Soft Skull Press, 2005
ISBN: 1-932360-69-7

Review by Erika Dreifus

Ever considered being a poet-in-residence–for a hotel? Dreamed of finding some magical patron to give you a place to live (rent-free) while you worked on your writing? In his new book, Gary Mex Glazner describes how he and others have managed to accomplish such feats, how they’ve been able to “make a living as a poet.”

Glazner, whose impressive resume includes directing the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and serving on the board of New Mexico Literary Arts, for which he oversees the Rural Poetry program, has essentially assembled a tripartite handbook in “How to Make a Living as a Poet.” The first section, “The Poetry Entrepreneur: Creative Poetry Programming,” offers detailed examples of ways to earn money as a poet, such as those mentioned above.

The book’s second part features interviews with prominent poets/writers, including Sherman Alexie, Mary Karr, Naomi Shihab Nye, and others. Finally, “Nuts/Bolts/Rants/Manifestos” offers helpful hints on everything from writing a press release to giving a good reading.

Together, the book’s elements offer practical tips to manage the basic business of a poet/writer’s life, plus creative suggestions to increase income while still doing the work one loves. That’s an excellent combination. And according to the very interesting page 147, where the author invites reader response, we won’t have to wait long for the sequel.*

*Available in March 2007, also from Soft Skull Press: How to Make a Life as a Poet

Memorized Poems

This Guardian blog post on committing poems to memory brought back (mixed) memories of my eighth-grade assignment (for a social studies class, not an English course, as it happened) to memorize Kipling’s “Gunga Din”. Rereading that poem now (eighth grade was a long time ago) I wonder how–or if–it is taught today. I can see it causing quite a stir in the more politically correct classrooms of our current times.

What poems have you memorized? Why?

Friday Finds

1) For those as impressed by Brett Jocelyn Epstein’s “Wise Words for Freelancers” as I was, Brett has still more helpful hints to share in “Writing Good Letters of Inquiry: Advice for Freelancers.” Brett has a knack for providing advice applicable not only to the translators who might naturally flock to her Brave New Words blog, but to all of us freelancers.

2) Interested in pitching GOOD magazine? Read this first.

3) Attention, writers in New York State! The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts has announced the 2007 categories for its Artist Grants program. This year, applications are welcome in painting; fiction; biography, autobiography, or memoir; and printmaking. Grants of $5,000 are open to artists residing in central and western New York counties. Application deadline is January 15, 2007.

4) Click here for an article on poet Seamus Heaney, in the current Harvard Magazine.

No-Cost Poetry Contest

Here’s an interesting contest I stumbled on recently: the first Stolpman Vineyards Haiku Contest for Poetry-Inspired Wine Label. Two winners (one for red wine, and one for white) will win $250 plus a case of wine (each) and name recognition on the label.

What’s needed? “One haiku on the subject of wine. G-rated only which will be used for (red wine and white wine labels), named ‘Poetry in Red’ and ‘Poetry in White.'” Deadline: December 1, 2006. Submit online.

Check the full contest description here.

Stadler Fellowship Stipend Increase

Here’s a bit of good news from Bucknell University, where the Stadler Fellowship is administered. The fellowship’s stipend (which was $12,000) is now $20,000. That’s a nice increase (the fellowship also includes housing in a furnished apartment on campus, office space, and health insurance). The next fellowship application deadline is December 2, 2006. For more information about this fellowship, which “offers a recent MFA, MA, or PhD graduate in poetry professional training in arts administration, literary editing, and teaching” and “is designed to balance the development of professional skills with time to complete a first book of poems,” visit the Stadler Center Web site. NB: No application fee!