Becoming the Living Poet

About Becoming the Living Poet

Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators. -Olin Miller

My name is Keely and I’m a first year poetry 2nd year MFA student. In short, I have three two more years in which to learn how to be a living poet. Ready, set, panic!

A living poet is someone who considers poetry to be their day job. Anything else they do is something they do on the side.

Maybe I’m cheating a little to make this task easier on myself, but I would count anyone who makes a living doing something poetry related -publishing books, teaching workshops, winning poetry slams, lecturing about poetry, editing poetry books, or other paying poetic pastimes – as a living poet, so long as they haven’t lost their original passion for the craft of writing poetry.

Many very smart people don’t think it’s possible to live as a poet anymore.

Many think it never was possible.

My mission (and yours should you choose to accept it) is to prove these people wrong.

I believe it is possible to live as a poet. A belief is a hypothesis that can only be proved by living your life as if it were true.

Becoming the Living Poet is about honestly acknowledging the psychological and financial barriers to being a poet and confronting them with mindfulness, authenticity, and, on a good day, maybe even a little grace.

And that’s about all you need to know, except for this destuckification thing.

Destuckification is a term coined by Havi Brooks, a Habits educator and Duck-positive thinker-of-thoughts and writer-of-words.

On the surface destuckification has absolutely nothing to do with poetry, sort of like physical therapy has nothing to do with running a marathon.

To understand the essence of destuckification please read: Destuckification 101.

This blog is my safe space in which I ponder, process, and struggle to grow as both a poet and a person. Perhaps it can be your safe space too?


7 Responses to "About Becoming the Living Poet"

May your Passport “Occupation read: Poet

love the new about page! I know I must be afraid when I make a plan to be anything but a poet/creative writer. Your definition of a living poet is perfect!

Glad you like the living poet definition. I figure since no poet is an island it would be unreasonable to expect the words on paper alone to produce an income without stuff like publishing or teaching.

Good for you! I admire your courage. Awesome that you’re challenging the modern view of poets. I think a lot of us say we’re “writers on the side” or poets on the side simply because we don’t make money at it (or not enough to fully support ourselves and our family) but I think it’s great that you’re challenging the euqating of earnings with art. Why should we have to earn a lot of money first in order to call ourselves artists, writers, or living poets? Along the same lines, we assume that we have to be published in the conventional book sense in order to qualify as “real” writers. Need we wait to be defined by others? Why wait for validation if we were born a writer, or live as one? Again, good for you!

We are all fabulously flawed- stop the greatest ill of humanity by not speaking ill words of anyone~ living poet

I have written poetry since the third grade. Creative expression is freedom and I genuinely love living as a poet.
I am on facebook under living poet

Sorry to write that here but didn’t find another way to contact you.

I’m Clarisse, CEO of, new lesbian online magazine and I’m looking for writers of your talent to be part of our team.

You can learn more about the website here:

And if you are interested or have some questions, just contact me at

Best regards.

Hi Clarisse,
Contacting me here is fine, though I’d be curious to know how you found me in the first place since I don’t tend to write about LGBT issues on this blog. (Sadly I don’t tend to write on this blog at all lately. I’ve been horribly neglecting it in favor of other projects.) I’ll definitely contact about writing for your site. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

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