Friday, March 7, 2008

Poetry TIps Question 1: How do you support living poets?

Thanks to everyone’s responses to my questions posed to readers back in February. Each week will be a different question with the responses from various people all over the world:

How can you support living poets?

Jim Murdoch responds with:

I think one of the best ways is through blogs that discuss and demystify poetry. There are so many approaches to poetry that it can become overpowering for a new poet. How do you find your own voice? How do you know you're doing it right? What's right?

Barbara Smith responds with:
Buy their books/chapbooks, go to their readings, get to know them. Read their blogs if they have one. Converse with them. They're people just like you and will probably offer you some insight that will prove useful.

Rob Mack responds with:
Buy their books, read them, tell your friends about them, buy them as presents for everyone you can think of, and go to live poetry readings!

Juliet Wilson:
Read their poetry, buy their books (or borrow them from the library), go and hear them read at slams or readings. Support your local poetry readings or think about setting up your own. Subscribe to some literary journals that publish poetry. Support online poetry networks such as Poets Who Blog ( or Read Write Poem (

Ben Wilkinson:
By buying as many contemporary poetry collections, pamphlets (sometimes called chapbooks or short collections) and anthologies as you can. There's no simpler way, and it benefits both poet and reader: the former gets a new audience and money to pay the bills (!) and the reader gets some pleasurable, thought-provoking and often illuminating reading. And though Amazon is a good place to buy reasonably priced poetry collections, there are some very good publishers who sell pamphlets and chapbooks direct at wonderfully affordable prices. Tall-Lighthouse is one (, and another is Happenstance (, both of whom offer you well-produced samplers of some of the most exciting and emerging new voices in UK poetry.
Cuitlamiztli Carter:
Buy books, for one. Unfortunately, poetry books are in my opinion abit pricey compared to novels or graphic novels. I wish more poetrypublishers sought to make a book of fifty pages much less than say,twelve bucks.But I think poetry supporters will be folks who regularly buy poetrybooks - and not just of their favorite poets. I also think thatbecoming a regular participator/commentator in the blogs of favoredpoets (if they have them, and many do) will help increase their webpresence.

I agree with all of the above. Especially when it comes to purchasing chapbooks and books because writers have a hard time making money just through writing, poets especially. Thanks so much to everyone who participated and keep a look-out each Friday for more tips provided from the poets above.

Hazel B. Cameron:
Apart from the obvious - buying their work and attending readings, it helps to eat chocolate, drink alcohol and read books with them; most poets need the creative support of other poets through discussion, critiques and general inspiration.
Give encouragement and advice to those who are at an earlier stage in their writing and acknowledge (without under-the-breath profanities) those who achieve success.
Thanks to all the contributors!
Thanks also for those reading the responses, hope you are able to use the tips! Please stop by tomorrow for a great blog…


Cuitlamiztli Carter said...

Not that it's a huge deal, but the spacing came out really funky on mine!

I enjoyed Cameron's, if especially for the invitation to imbibe. But I think her comments play up the need to fellowship with poets.

Poet Hound said...

C. Carter
Sorry about the spacing, I was in a rush this morning so the copy-and-paste method didn't go like I planned. Thanks for your feedback!