Bukowski - paying poems. (1 Viewer)

These days it seems that there are so many people alive at the same time that there is just a saturation of everything, and everyone. Millions of poets. Millions of painters. Millions of joiners. Millions of students. Millions of gas men. Millions of plumbers. Millions of teachers.

Total saturation.

So, back in Bukowski time, particularly 1965, there were literally LESS people alive, less poets, less painters, less joiners, less students, less gas men, less plumbers, less teachers.

Now a poet can hardly make a penny submitting poems. We all submit them to FREE online publications. And you know what, there are more submissions, than there are readers. Webzines and magazines get hundreds of submissions, but a handful of buyers/readers.

It might be true that regardless of the sheer number of people, quality will always be recognised, now or later.

My question is, how much did Bukowski make for individual poems? There was more of a monetayr gain in those days? - I know poetry doesn't pay. But, surely you got a few dollars, here and there? Or, was that not so?

It just seems there are so many people alive getting poems published online, yet they make no money, there is no real 'recognition', it is just an ocean of amateur poetry, drowing, drowning due to the sheer tidal NUMBER of people. It's like there is no room for anything new. There is an excess. An excess of sincere but mediocre, imitative poetry.

How much did Bukowski make per poem? Did he publish lots when he started, for free, like all of us? I know there are magazines out there that do pay. Harder to get accepted. Would Bukowski of submitted to that sort of market?

The ramble is mine, thoughts herding in the paragraph like cattle, little cows of meaning, please, let me know your thoughts.

I'm sure that Cirerita can answer that question about payment, but I can say this. There are not more poets/painters/etc as a percentage of the population. they are just so many low cost venues for them. back in the days before the xerox/mimeo, it was very few poets that could be published as it was expensive to do it. Then along came the xerox and the mimeo, where anyone that worked in an office could print their poetry. Now with SO many websites that publish poetry (and the millions of blogs), it costs virtually NOTHING to publish a poem or a full book of poems on a website.

What is lost in this is that everyone that writes a poem should not have that poem published. With Blogs, you basically get that. It is information overload. People always wrote little poems, but they had no way to get them to the masses.

And although I obviously prefer paper books, there are a few websites that have substantial followings. It is the 99% of the websites with less than 10 people watching them that creates the static.

I know that some publishers pay for poems as a matter of policy. Some do not and others would pay if they wanted the poem bad enough. There is very little money in the small press, so most seem to pay with contributors copies, which is how I normally do it. I know that Bukowski was a great supporter of the small press his whole career (he never sold out and never forgot where he came from), so that even when he was famous, he still sent out a LOT of submissions to the littles and seemed agreeable to send stuff when asked. I have never seen a submission letter from him that offered the poems for a fee.

I vaguely remember reading a letter from Buk to a small publisher wherein he turned down the money the publisher offered him, saying he didn't need it...and the magazine probably did. This was late 80s, early 90s, after he'd "made it."

The truth is the multitude of poets and the decades of giving it away have conditioned the world to treat it as something with no actual real world, monetary value.

So, no, there will be no money made.
Bukowski most likely made zilch off most of his poems.
Thats why he started writing a novel when he quit the post office.
Prose feeds the stomach, poetry feeds the heart and mind.

PS: Shakespeare made zilch off the texts of his plays. He lived off the actual performances of them.
Thats why Buk did poetry readings...
All my life I've given away poems. You could count the number of times I've been paid for poetry or fiction on my ten fingers and probably have a few left over. As long as I've been writing (since the mid-1960s), there was never any money in it for the average writer. Only the best, luckiest, most famous, made any money from their work. Not being paid has been the norm in the small press for decades. There always were millions of writers all competing for the same venues, ever since the end of WWII and the G.I. bill allowed greater numbers to get college educations. Before the war, if you could write a sentence, you actually had a chance at making a cent a word writing fiction for the pulps. It was easier to make a living as a writer in the 1930s than after WWII because there was less competition, and more outlets (no tv meant more magazines were published and more people read for entertainment). I'm fine with not making any money from writing. I do it because I can't stand not doing it.
I just checked (I keep a book. geek), I've been paid 6 times for poems. the largest amount was $50 for one poem.

I do it for the money.
I may be completely generalizing and may be completely wrong, but show me someone who writes only for the money and I'll show you someone who's writing shows it. It is like when bands are contractually bound to put out a record. It is usually garbage. You cannot put a dollar amount on the CREATION of art.
I've been publishing since 1999 and have been paid 4 or 5 times...in addition I've sold a few author's copies of my books. In the 11 1/2 years I've probably made about $150 total.

If my math is right, I've made about three & a half cents a day.
Hosh, you are, none the less, a professional, plain and simple.

Think about this: How many collectors only want the work of the dead artist. I know, at least, once Hosho McCreesh passes away his books will become worth much more. Sure that sounds sick but Hosho for one has a special unique style that stands out, at very least in my opinion.
One thing I'll forever be in debt to this site for is giving me a kick in the ass for appreciating the small press. Three contributors to this thread I enjoy reading. The best I can do is be one more added to the ranks of readership. One thing leads to another leads to another leads... Just read Down This Crooked Road: Modern Poetry From The Road Less Traveled and read that due to Hosho's presence but in reading it I picked up another poet or two I'm going to look into further. Sad to hear I profit far more from all this. Or do I? You broke wordweavers make me sick. Too bad envy can't buy a cup of coffee. Heh.
I can't check my files now, but B. did get paid at times. Targets, Scimitar & Song and Evergreen Review paid him for sure for his poetry. I'm almost sure he used to get a check from Malone and Packard for his many contributions to the WR and the NYQ. But those were exceptions, of course. You won't get rich in the small press, everybody knows that. B. used to joke about this in his correspondence.

Prose is a different matter. The underground press not only made him popular in the late 60s/early 70s, they also paid him on a regular basis back then. Not to mention the girlie mags...
I like how this thread is going. It's true prose can feed, poetry is for the mind. But, if you're in it for the money, you're a luneball.I used to make 30 pounds for writing short consumer articles for a guy who ran a student magazine. I have also sold about 10 copies of my book for 5 pounds each, but I gave away about 60 copies of it for free!

I suppose the reality is to keep on pushing yourself out there. Submissions. The continuous creation of story etc. To fire off to free press in a continually bombardment.

Interested to know if there were more magazines paying small cash for poems than there are today. I mean, most folk probably avoid the cash payments. I think I'll submit to them in a few years. I'm 28. I need more to know. More meat on my butchers pencil. Curious to know more about Bukowski's monetary gain.
I vaguely remember reading a letter from Buk to a small publisher wherein he turned down the money the publisher offered him, saying he didn't need it...and the magazine probably did. This was late 80s, early 90s, after he'd "made it."
Kevin Ring (beatscene.net) sent him $100 and Buk said something like "I don't need it but I'll use it for the track."
Martin always paid Bukowski royalties for poetry. At least prior to their perpetual indentured servitude agreement of 1969, when he was put on retainer. That was one of the motivating factors for leaving the Webbs in the dust.

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