Monday, July 8, 2013

5 Reasons some contemporary poets gain, maintain recognition

As an alternative to my piece “5 Reasons so many contemporary poets remain largely unknown,” I decided to pull together some thoughts on why some poets gain and maintain recognition.

Beyond producing poetry that's good enough, what follows are, for now, 5 of the key reasons:

Big presses – Poets who are widely known tend to have the backing of a major press and sometimes more than one press. Well-resourced and well-connected publishers can really assist in facilitating a poet’s visibility and overall career.

A solid university appointment - Well-resourced universities can greatly assist poets attaining and maintaining high degrees of success, especially when the universities can keep poets' teaching loads low, offer sabbaticals and other perks, and provide poets with long-term financial and intangible support.

Awards - Awards beget awards, and poets who win some are likely to win more. Winning awards, especially the more prestigious awards brings poets to the attention of fellow poets, some news outlets, publishers, and possibly broader audiences.

Coverage - Working with a large press and winning awards raises the changes that a poet will receive extensive news coverage. Being one of the relatively few poets to receive news coverage can elevate a poet slightly above the crowded fields.

The right connects - Having friends or associates (fellow poets, influential agents, public figures, etc.) with the power to offer access to high-profile platforms and large audiences can  be key for individual poets securing a contract with large press or a solid university appointment, winning awards, and receiving more coverage.      

More later. 

5 Reasons so many contemporary poets remain largely unknown  

Does the Pulitzer award for poetry favor "younger" black poets? 

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