The professional poet

Even poets have to manage their professional lives.
Lorcan 1 min read
The professional poet
DLR Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire

Going a little off topic for this weekend message. Put aside your prejudices about the poet. Eavan Boland (poet and Stanford professor) writes about the ‘skills’ modern poets require if they are to thrive. Perhaps an opportunity for business schools to diversify into professional development courses for poets?

Whether we like it or not, the contemporary poet is increasingly skill-based. Or expected to be. He or she can — or should — lecture, lead a workshop, run an introductory class, teach composition, write a review, give a conference paper. In pursuit of all this, they are also expected to travel neatly, punctually, and soberly. [Poetry]
Once I thought there was a broad tolerance for this. Now I’m not so sure. In Ireland, or the US or the UK, the tilt is towards the poet who can navigate the worlds of the university, the institution, the community, the reading series, the community workshop, the literary festival. There has been a gradual, perhaps calcifying professionalism which requires of  a poet a standard of  behavior and communality which poets were once exempted from. I was never uncritical of that exemption. But now, somehow, I wish I saw more of it. [Poetry]

In the picture, our daughter Eavan and her brother in the very nice library and cultural centre in Dun Laoghaire, looking out to the harbour and Dublin Bay beyond.

Update: Formatting fixed and picture updated 12/4/2023.

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