Sunday, November 10, 2019

a poet’s accounting

I’ve never before seen an accounting of a poet’s earnings for a poem. So when I came across the one below in the notes at the back of the Best American Poetry anthology, I took note. 

Thomas Sayers Ellis writes:

I was paid $2,230 for the publication of [my poem] in Poetry magazine, $250 for the recording of the poem for the Poetry Foundation’s podcast; and $500 more, by the Poetry Foundation, when the poem received the Salmon O. Levinson Prize. The appearance of ‘Vernacular Owl’ in this anthology will add $100, bringing the total to $3,080[.]

The poem takes up seven pages, so the original payment works out to about $320 per page. Not bad! I know the Poetry Foundation is awash in money due to a bequest from someone superrich, so I’m glad to see that they are paying poets decently. And they don’t charge reading fees. It would be nice if they took a little less time to make a decision, though. It’s been six months since I sent them poems. 

source: Best American Poetry 2015 Sherman Alexie, editor; series editor, David Lehman. Scribner Poetry / Simon & Schuster, New York