Monday, November 4, 2013

What's the ideal day job for a poet?

In the Atlantic, Win Bassett interviews Amy Woolard, asking What's the ideal day job for a poet?  Well, she should be able to answer that: she's been a bartender, a restaurant manager, a teacher, and a lawyer.
"I think whenever you have to perform a couple of different identities within your life, each is affected by the other in some way. My job provides a nice counter-balance to the anything-goes world of poems—it’s still a persuasion-based job, but definitely in a rational, intellectual, responsible, real-world sort of way. This may sound terrible, but in my day job, I have to be a good person—and don’t get me wrong: I want to be and like being a good person, but poems give me a path to wrestle with the terrifying, difficult, absurd, imperfect, uncontrollable parts of the world in a much different but incredibly important way."

Some other people addressing the question:
"Most novelists have day jobs, even the published ones whose books get good reviews. Writing is my second career, and one of the very few things that it has in common with my first career—contemporary dance—is the necessity of maintaining secondary employment."
"Enter the day job. For some, this is a job teaching writing, but for others it can range from office work to running hydration stations for runners training for marathons. As Chekhov wrote 'Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other.'"

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The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau