What is Poetry?
Poetry is a type of creative writing – or literary art – that is meant to express ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but with a unique style and rhythm. Pieces composed as poetry are commonly referred to as poems.
There are a number of different types of poetry, some more common than others. Many poems, for instance, will tell stories. Some, on the other hand, are nothing more than an outpouring of emotions, including anger, sadness, and elation. Although many people associate rhymes with poetry, this is not always the case. Some poems are written using each letter of a word or phrase as the first letter of each line, and some are even written so that their words form a shape, such as a heart or a tree. A poem can be long, or it can be short. Some poems are novel length, for instance, while others consist of nothing more than a few lines.
Poetry has been one of the most popular types of literature throughout history. While it may not be as popular today as it was centuries, poets are still going strong. In fact, some may even argue that there is a little bit of a poet in everyone.
What Does a Poet Do?
Simply put, a poet writes. Whether he puts his pen to paper, his fingers to the keyboard, or even just forms poetic masterpieces in his head, a poet is always writing. The type of poetry that a poet writes is typically a matter of personal preference. Some poets abhor strict literary rules and prefer to write nothing but free-verse poetry. Others, however, prefer to stick with writing one or more poetry styles, such as ballads, epic poems, or haiku.
Writing poetry is often less about literary rules and recognition, however, and more about self-expression. True poets typically don’t write their poetry purely for others to enjoy, although that is an added bonus for some. Instead, a true poet will usually write to express himself and his feelings, or even to relieve pent up frustrations or stress. In short, a poet often writes more for himself, and less for others.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that a poet is exempt from all literary rules and traditions. Finding the perfect balance of grammar, simplicity, intricacy, feeling, imagery, and rhythm is one of the most difficult challenges that a poet will face. In some cases, a poet’s work might never be done. For example, he might spend several years, or even his entire life, trying to perfect one single poem. He might omit a word or two here, or change some words there every so often. Rhyming poets will often quickly realize that simply finding the right rhyme for a single word is a challenge in itself.
Some poets also prefer to have their work published in books or magazines, which can be difficult in most cases. Being published in these publications, however, is not the only avenue toward a poetry career. Poets can also choose to have their verses printed elsewhere, such as greeting cards or coffee mugs.
What are the Necessary Education Requirements for a Successful Poetry Career?
In general, a person does not necessarily need any sort of formal education to pursue a poetry career. Excellent writing skills, however, are almost always essential in order to have a successful writing career.
For some, the best way to hone their writing skills is by earning a degree in writing. Students working toward this type of degree will often find themselves starting with the basic rules of writing and expanding from there. While in school, they will also have a chance to choose several elective writing courses as well. Those interested in professional poetry careers should take poetry writing courses and creative writing courses. These types of courses not only help a student hone his craft, but they can also get the creative juices flowing.
Where Does a Poet Work?
The majority of professional poets actually work as freelancers.
Many poets will attempt to start their careers by sending their poems to poetry competitions, literary magazines, and poetry publishers. After being published, they may then start to gain popularity and possibly even a following. Extremely talented poets might even have their own poetry books published.
Although publishing poetry in periodicals is typically the most traditional type of poetry career, it is not the only type of poetry career. Poets can also work as songwriters, for instance, and some may even write greeting cards. Entrepreneurial poets might even consider trying to sell original poetry that has been printed, painted, or carved onto a product, such as a coffee mug or sign.
Can One Really Make a Living With a Poetry Career?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional writers and authors made an average salary of around $65,960 in 2010.
Because poetry is not nearly as popular today as it was decades ago, however, most poets will find that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make that much money with a poetry career. In fact, some poets may not ever make one dime from their poetry, and they must usually hold down other employment.
Making a living with a poetry career, however, is not an impossible dream. With creativity, determination, and a poet’s soul, nothing is impossible.