The Accounting

Because it's always about the money when it comes to the poetry biz, this page will be dedicated to $.  But lest I risk hubris in talking about all the dough I'm rolling in, let me share with you my first rejection notice, from 1981:

Of course, the real point of this page is to indicate just how little money there really is in the poetry thing, even for a reasonably successful minor American poet.  Even so, the money, however paltry, can have an intriguing effect among poets.

Duly reported to the United States Internal Revenue Service, proceeds from my published poems, poetry readings, poetry fellowships, and poetry contest winnings have totaled $43,230 over the last twenty-eight years. 

Most of that money came from a handful of fellowships:
  • 2009 City of Fort Myers Artist Grant:  $1800
  • 1995 Idaho Commission for the Arts Grant:  $5000
  • 1990 Alex Haley Foundation Grant:  $2500
  • 1990 Tennessee Arts Commission Grant:  $2500
  • 1990 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship:  $20000
One note of clarification, the Alex Haley Foundation, from the late 80s until Mr. Haley's death, supplemented one of the individual arts grant awarded through the Tennessee Arts Commission.  I want to be clear that that sponsorship ended with Mr. Haley's death, and it was a separate charitable initiative from the Kunta-Kinte Alex Haley Foundation that currently exists.

I should also take a moment to commend the City of Fort Myers for having provided individual arts grants to local artists over the last eight years.  That's a remarkable statement of support for the arts by a local municipality--that's rarely seen in the United States.

My NEA Story