Sunday, June 01, 2008

Suggested Blog Topic: The Poet's Stipend

Here's an interesting topic that was requested recently. When someone asks you what's your normal stipend (or payment) for their conference, reading, etc. What do you say?

It seems it varies between event. For example, most poets tend to do readings for free and are excited if there's payment. While conferences or leading a workshop require more work and organization, plus your time, travel, and sometimes lodging.

I have taught at one day conferences where payment has ranged from $150-$250 for teaching one class. Of course, you don't just teach your class and leave, so your time is there for the day, but in most cases, you're welcome to attended other classes or workshops, which for me is a bonus.

Bigger poetry festivals will usually cover lodging and food and can pay $250 per workshop, reading, or lecture you teach. Most giving poets 3-4 of these in a 2 (sometimes 3) day period.

When asked for what my stipend is for an event, I usually give amounts I've been paid before then offer that most likely their standard payment would be adequate (given travel expenses to get to the place aren't ridiculously expensive). Though I know poets who have driven through sleet and rain, taken ferries and buses to arrive at an event to read (without payment) to three people. And I remember her saying, "That's what poets do. I was glad to have been there."

What's your thought on being paid for a workshop or class? Is it different than being paid for a reading (which I'm guessing most of us aren't expecting payment.) Or am I wrong, do you expect to be paid for a reading?

What do you feel is a fair price to pay poets when they teach a workshop or a class, give a reading, or participant in a writer's conference?

With the price of gas rising, the price of travel has increased, because of this, should poets be paid more or does that determine what events you'll do as a poet?

Feel free to post what you've been paid (if anything) and you're welcome to be anonymous with the event if you like, just let us know what kind of event it was--poetry festival, workshop, college lecture, talk, etc.

What are your thoughts on this topic?
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