By: Dawn L. Lambert


No formal education is necessary, but an associate's, bachelor's, or graduate degree can help develop writing skills and increase chances of publication.
There are many online distance-learning programs for poetry students.

Average Salary

Median wage in 2014 was $28.30 hourly and 58,850 annual.

Job Duties/Tasks

  • Revise written material to meet personal standards and to satisfy needs of clients, publishers, directors, or producers.
  • Choose subject matter and suitable form to express personal feelings and experiences or ideas, or to narrate stories or events.
  • Plan project arrangements or outlines, and organize material accordingly.
  • Prepare works in appropriate format for publication, and send them to publishers or producers.
  • Follow appropriate procedures to get copyrights for completed work.

Knowledge Areas

  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.


  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Working Conditions

Poetry is rarely a 9 to 5 job. Poets have very personal routines, which they develop over time. Many poets have a desk in their house at which they write regularly. Others may write in many different locations. Generally, poets have to spend a lot of time on their own in order to write.

Successful poets may have literary agents, who broker deals with publishers, organize new opportunities for commissions and readings, and publicity. The pressures of public life are well-documented as a source of stress, particularly for stereotypically reclusive poets.

Related Occupations

  • Broadcast News Analyst
  • Reporters or Correspondents
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Editors
  • Copy Writers

Reasons Why this is my Dream Job

My dream job is to be a poet. Being able to right how I feel and make people think about what they read is why it is my dream job. Also, I love reading and writing poetry.

Interesting Facts

  • The epic was the earliest type of poem, presenting a long narrative (story) of amazing heroic deeds. Lyric poetry, originally a song for a lyre (an ancient musical instrument), is short and often expresses the poet’s own ideas or feelings. Dramatic poetry is written in the voices of different characters and can be acted.
  • The oldest written poem is the Epic of Gilgamesh from Babylon. It is about 4,000 years old and tells the story of a king, Gilgamesh, who was half-man, half-god. The oldest poem in English is Beowulf, written in the 8th century AD. This 3,000-line epic is about a Scandinavian hero, Beowulf, who saves the Danes from two monsters—Grendel and its mother.
  • Meter is the rhythm of a poem. Rhythm is created by the stressed (long) and unstressed (short) syllables (parts of a word) in a line. Short and long syllables are arranged in fixed patterns known as feet. A foot with a long and a short syllable is called a trochee. A line with ten syllables is called a pentameter.
  • Rhyme (when words sound the same) does not always suit the subject or feeling of a poem, so many poets write poetry that does not rhyme, called blank verse. Paradise Lost, the epic poem by John Milton (1608–1674), does not rhyme but has a particular meter (rhythm). Poetry without meter is called free verse.
  • Verse can mean poetry in general, or it can mean a paragraph of poetry, also called a stanza. Traditionally, a stanza contains no more than 12 lines. A two-line stanza is called a couplet, and a four-line couplet is a quatrain.