Jun 27

"Starving in a Garret"

Writer (usually poet) is always, in the popular mind, "starving in a garret." I wondered whence came this phrase and image of our profession. Looked it up. The original "born in a cellar and living in a garret"comes from the 18th century. The word "starving" replaces "living" in the19th century, whence comes this romantic 1856 painting, "Death of Chatterton." Seventeen-year-old poet Thomas Chatterton committed suicide in 1770. He actually WAS going to starve, and chose to poison himself. The phrase and image endure; has nobody come up with anything more accurate? I mean, bummer!

Credit Lord Byron, in "Childe Harold" (1812) for making a powerfully attractive figure out of a brooding, reckless young artist who, in real life, would give anybody a pain. I can see Byronic poets wearing black and smoking cigarettes on Delmar Blvd. even today.
Feb 15

Did You Accidentally Hire a Poet? A Checklist for Employers

Poets deliberately withhold from their resumes and job applications the fact that they are poets. You may not be aware you have poets on staff. There is absolutely nothing worse. This list of “poet behaviors” will help you root them out. A poet:

  • frequents the post office
  • reads books and magazines with no pictures in them
  • cannot tell you the current date and time
  • claims to have cremated one “Sam McGee”
  • has studied "humanities"
  • frequently finds important workplace communications to be “vague” or “hilarious”
  • brings bearded individuals to the company party
  • claims to possess talents which, however, are undetectable and unquantifiable
  • says, without context,  things such as “’twas the wily Boche that got me”
Find one? Ready, aim, fire!