Building Your Career as a Poet

Amanda Gorman

Lesson time 08:47 min

Amanda gives advice on how you can help build a community of poets and find ways to grow your career—no matter where you live.

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Topics include: Building Your Career as a Poet * Expand Your Reach Beyond the Page * Learn From Other Poets * Becoming a Professional *


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So far, we've talked a lot about writing poems, editing poems. In this chapter, we're going to look at what it might mean to take those poems and try to pursue a poetic career. One of the questions I get asked most by other writers is how to get an agent, et cetera, et cetera. And I will actually say, knock that right out of your brain. I think when you start writing, the focus really can be, how do I become a good writer? How do I hone my craft? And from there, I think more opportunities will come. And so what I say to other writers in general who are looking to have a poetic career, it's about starting with the craft first. You can have access to all the agents, grants, publishing opportunities in the world. But if your writing isn't strong, then what was the purpose of getting those types of chances? [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the primary steps you can take after you've begun writing poems, thinking about revising them, is combining your craft with community. I think that actually comes before a career. So that means, hey, are there any writing groups locally or virtually that I can join? If not, can I start one? What web pages and magazines should I be subscribing to or buying to get up to date about grants and awards with writing? Or are there workshops that I can take? Are there classes happening online or in person that I can participate in? There's just so many great nonprofits and groups that are doing the work on the ground, and the more that you can unite yourself with them, the more you will be exposed to great people and poets. A great website that is a huge resource for me in this is Poets and Writers. It gives you this huge list of literary opportunities that you can seek. Other literary websites to check out would be The Poetry Society of America, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities. There's The American Literature Association and The Poetry Foundation as well. Subscribe to those websites because they'll send you not only opportunities, but great poems. You know, you get a poem in your inbox every day, which means you're continuing your craft. There's just so many great nonprofits and groups that are doing the work around the world, and the more that you can unite yourself with them, the more you will be exposed to great people and poets. I'd also say that independent bookstores are a great place to start. Maybe there's one in your neighborhood or your city. Go there, check out the Poetry section, talk with the bookseller. Are they having any poetry readings coming up? Would they be open to hosting or reading with you and some other people you know? And so it's finding kind of the lifeblood of poetry around you. There's spoken word groups, spoken word organizations. For example, Urban Word was the organization that named me Youth Poet Laureate of LA. If there's not a Youth Poet Laureate in your city, in your county, start that program. Be the one to initia...

About the Instructor

Bestselling author. Electrifying performer. The youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Amanda Gorman has revitalized poetry as a unifying form of expression and catalyst for social justice. Now she’s teaching you her deeply personal approach to writing. She’ll help you find your poetic purpose, fight through revisions, and prepare for performance. Discover poetry’s transcendent power to open minds and create change.

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Amanda Gorman

Award-winning Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman teaches you how to harness the power of poetry to become a more thoughtful, compassionate person.

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