Naomie Christensen: Poets and Poetry

Friday, April 1, 2011

Poets and Poetry

Poetry is a humbling vocation. No one earns a living writing poems. Therefore, poets have other occupations to help them pay bills. Even famous poets write short stories and novels to produce income. Edgar Allen Poe wrote stories for the Evening Post.

There are a wide variety of ways to become a known writer. The most important factor is gaining notoriety. Being an artist is one part skill and two parts exhibitionist. People want to buy poems related to topics they enjoy and love. It takes a long time to gain a reputation, so they know what they are buying in advance. There are many competitions for those who have written a book of poetry. Usually fees are involved when entering contests.

If you feel confident in your work contests are an option; however, there are other venues for gaining a reputation. Some are accused of being unscrupulous. The International Library of Poetry is one. However, in my opinion, they paid copyright, so my work is protected. I didn't have to pay anything to enter the competition and people are able to become familiar with my style. (They will copyright anything. Make sure the poem is worth the copyright. That could be someone's first and last opinion.)

Having a poem published in a magazine is difficult. I have one poem published in a sci-fi magazine. Hundreds or even thousands of people submit poems to publishers and they may publish eight poems a year. That's tough. Sometimes you have it, most of the time you don't. I am happy when they contact me to discuss the submission.

The largest industry for poetry is song writing. People separate poetry and lyrics. In the end, it is the same. Purely defining a thought within few lines is a challenge. Listening to music on the radio, often it rhymes or follows the basic principles of poetry. Regardless of the venue, always protect your work.

There are many ways of registering your work. One way is on-line through the National Registry. Instructions for patenting your work, is available at the library. I find on-line registration faster and efficient.

The industry can be brutal. Watching the news, several people make claims regarding theft of their songs. I know of one person who won a case. They registered the song. The official copy of his work, presented to the court, made a huge difference. The plaintiff won and secured royalties to his own creation.

The most important part of any artwork is that it is shared. Maybe as simple as writing a poem for a loved one or exhibitionist art world, poetry should be shared to offer hope, inspiration, motivation and better parts of human nature so everyone may benefit. Though the poet's life is not profitable, it is powerful and necessary.

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