I’m not complaining but when I was Warwick Poet Laureate, I wasn’t paid and most Regional Poet Laureate positions are the same – ie: honorary. There were plenty of benefits though, not least some ‘commissioned’ poetry, the offer of a creative writing class, requests for after-dinner speaking and the chance to host open mic events – all of which did (and still do) bring in a small but satisfying fee.
So I was surprised – and pleased – to see an advert today for a Lincolnshire Poet Laureate (closing date for applications: 21st February 2011) which is offering £4000 for a 6-month tenure. Who says poetry doesn’t pay?
If you live in Lincolnshire and you’ve a penchant for poetry, then why not give it a go? (Actually, you don’t have to even live in the county but you do have to have ‘obvious connections with Lincolnshire or a passionate reason for applying.’)
If you can’t apply for this position, it’s still worth checking whether there’s an opportunity to become a Poet Laureate in your area. (And if there isn’t – why not suggest it to your local literary festival or arts centre?)
It’s notoriously difficult to make your mark in poetry but becoming a Regional Poet Laureate – even if it’s one of the ‘unpaid’ ones – can open the door to all kinds of exciting literary-related activities. It’s also a great confidence-booster and looks fabulous on your writer’s CV.
Birmingham claims to have started the trend in the UK for Regional Poet Laureates when it appointed its first in 1996 and there has been a Poet Laureate – and more recently, a ‘Young Laureate’ – for the city ever since.
Other towns/areas that reputedly have Poet Laureates, include: Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Cheshire, Edinburgh Peterborough, Oxford, Bradford, Canterbury, Gloucestershire, Peak District, Harrow and Pinner, South Cumbria, Stirling.
If you know of any others, please let me know! And if you live in Lincolnshire, what are you waiting for….?