Connections - Poetry and Work

Grant writing and fundraising is the day job that sustains my writing -- you could say I write to be able to write. I've been thinking about how we connect (or don't connect) our day jobs to our writing lives. For those who teach in writing programs, the connection seems obvious, though I've heard teachers say their teaching sometimes makes it harder to write. For the rest of us, engaged in the commerce and service worlds, the idea of a connection may seem more like a chasm. But some of my favorite poetry arises from poets who are or have been fully engaged in non-literary occupations.

I think of poets like B.H. Fairchild, who worked as a machinist and writes compellingly of the world of work and workers in Art of the Lathe and Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest. I think of Paul Hostovsky, who works in the nonprofit world interpreting for deaf people. His poetry is often centered on that work, opening up marvelous windows into places many of us wouldn't otherwise encounter. (Though I do as a fundraiser, working with a school for young deaf children.) And of course I think of Walt Whitman and his drive to be among common people, any people, working people. I wonder what connection to the insurance business Wallace Stevens' unconscious made to his dazzling language.

By the way, if you work in a nonprofit organization that needs funds (there's a redundancy!), you can go to my professional fundraiser website, Rachel Dacus Resource Development. Free estimates on grant projects.