Monday, 23 February 2009

Why I'm at the bus stop

I love that quote in the novel The Information by Martin Amis, where he says the more you have to work at your writing the less you earn - 'Ask the poet at the bus stop.' Yes, that's me ok. Broke at best and a lot worse in times of recession. Cheery though, as I'm a Londoner after all, so I'll just do a dance, flap my elbows, and sing like Tommy Steele.

Ah well. My first full collection Never-Never Land was printed last Friday and has arrived with the publisher, bluechrome, today. So I'm very excited. No, it won't make me enough to do my weekly shop unless something very extraordinary happens to the poetry market in times of recession. Perhaps people might turn to it as they do at other extreme moments of emotion, like funerals and weddings.

It's so strange to think of my book all stacked up somewhere and to imagine holding it someday soon in my hand. It's enough to inspire me to work even harder at the next one to make sure it earns even less. Amis wrote a funny short story too, where everything is reversed and poets are the ones who earn loads while agents get very little and sit in a pub bemoaning their fate.

Well, I've tried to say two main things about me in this first post: I'm a poet and I like Martin Amis. I have just one question to which there is no easy answer. Amis makes a load of money. Does that mean, according to his own philosophy, that he doesn't work at his own writing? Something is going on and I'll be discussing more about writing in future posts.


  1. If Amis makes money it isn't from writing poetry -never is!

  2. He keeps saying it so I wonder if he has a secret yearning to be a poet. In that comment in The Information he said the easier it was to write, the less you got paid. Then he listed all the types of writing and I think he had screenwriters being paid most for 'easy' work - his words not mine. Perhaps he finds it easy to write his novels.


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