Art for art’s sake? What about money, for god’s sakes? If you have some semblance of poetic talent or are adept at fooling some of the people some of the time (in politics, it’s “some of the people all of the time”), you might try these three strategies:
- Be an INSTAGRAM POET. I have never been on Instagram and wouldn’t know how to navigate it if landed there after a 3-hour tour (terribly dated Gilligan’s Island reference). That said, I do know of some poets who have raked in fans like autumn leaves by breaking the rules (The Third Commandment: Though shalt not ruin your poems for submissions by offering them for public viewing). It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that Rupi Kaur is the best example of this. And you can laugh or sneer all you want at her “poetry.” She’s laughing or sneering all the way to the bank. Score: Rupi 1, Purists 0.
- Be a WEDDING POET. If you write poetry, you know that 99.47% of the reading public (which is 23.85% of the public) do not read poetry or, worse still, listen to it… unless they’re at a wedding. Ask any bride-to-be. On the extensive checklist for becoming a bride (beyond spending the equivalent of Costa Rica’s GNP) is finding so-called love poetry–something modern to go along with anything read from the Bible. As for the Bible, it is somewhat ironic that you seldom hear anything read from that hot-and-heavy entry from the Old Testament, The Song of Solomon. In parts, it’s too racy for even a wedding! My recommendation is that grooms read it on their honeymoon, maybe. Their brides will be suitably impressed!
- Be a FUNERAL POET. Right behind weddings is funerals. Like fertilizer for poetry, they are. And we all know that funerals, like weddings, eliminate any need for family reunions. This is the Ben Franklin approach to writing poetry, and it sells. Yes, your poem could go VIRAL (killer stuff!) if it’s perfect for sending off the dead. Think of that song, “Wind Beneath My Wings” (Bette Midler, poet) or “In the Arms of an Angel” (Sarah McLaughlin, poet). Oh, man. If I hear them one more time…. But, people love ’em! And groove to them. And especially love to cry to them. Poetry not as neglected sideliner, but as Roman conqueror.
Veni, vidi, vici, people! Get writing. About love! About death! Preferably on Instagram!