Poetry's Monetary Value

Can writing poetry ever pay enough? And do we need it to?

For those of us taking advantage of the fall season to submit work to recently opened journals, there's a new way to see if any on your target list pay for poems. Most print journal do pay, but only in copies. For online published poems, my stipend is merely the exposure to readers.

But why not get at least a monetary token of the value of all the work that goes into a single poem--and the potential enjoyment the reader has? The economics of publishing poetry can be complex, but some believe that poets should be paid cash.

Jessica Piazza, who blogs at Poetry Has Value, believes we should. She's a poet, professor, and book club facilitator who has created the public document linked above. It lists journals that pay for poetry. She took the radical and interesting step of making the document fully viewable and editable by the public. You can not only use it, but also add journals that pay if you don't see them listed.

Jessica is tracking with monthly posts the money she has spent and money earned during her year-long pledge to only submit poetry to paying markets. As of July 31, 2015, she's in positive territory by $264.50, her net earnings from poetry. Not a living wage, but it beats giving her work away.

I'm considering this experiment in 2016. I may even start sooner. I'm going to publish. Why not get paid, even a little?