Today's "major" poets collect steady paychecks, enjoy comprehensive healthcare insurance, receive pensions.
And the august and pretentious Wallace Stevens (who, granted, has written some good lines here and there) was a part-timer. Fortunately Hemingway (cf. his letters) was good enough to respond to his slander at a party in Key West by slugging him and knocking him down a flight of stairs, in an effort to bring him into contact with certain basic realities. Various are the ways one can acquire an education.
Baudelaire died with creditors hounding him day and night (once attempting suicide in a restaurant with a knife), often complaining about "my loathsome poverty, my humiliating situation," Jean Rhys' penury drove her into severe alcoholism, Wilde was pauperized by a bigoted, irrational public morality, Joyce and Beckett lost all their teeth. Have I mentioned Wallace Stevens, the beloved of uncountable lemming academics, was a part-timer?
And Proust had caviar with every meal, his sole excursion into wage-labor a temporary, part-time job as a librarian that he lost as a result of not coming to work on a single occasion.
The conclusion to be drawn is um . . . why not pick up the latest copy of the worshipped Poetry and tell me?
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