More poetically than I, Anne Waldman asks whether it is illuminating to think of poetry as a career, or in relation to careers. The connection to institutions. To commerce. The origin of the word career in chariot races.
I would rather think of trajectories than races. Freeing the work from both competition and from establishmentarian connotations. I understand the establishment and can work with it on my terms. My best work speaks to it, but is not bound up with it.
Waldman (page 16): “Start with poem as career. Perhaps, ideally, where poetry presents, offers, little product value…”
Waldman (page 17): “…a present increasingly debilitated by concerns of economics, professionalism…”
Waldman (page 19): [French carrière from Italian carriera / from Provençal carreira from Latin carrus.]
Waldman (page 19): “A course or progress through life or history; an occupation or profession engaged in as a life-work; a way of making a livelihood and advancing oneself. / Should poets be paid for what they do? Should they be housed and fed for their dulcet sound? Sing for their supper?”
Waldman (page 20): “What is the story? Is it a calling or a career?”