Friday, 30 May 2008

Minimum wage for Glasgow's underground poet

The Glasgow subway system would like its poet in residence to work 40 hours a week planning and executing literary events, selecting poems for display, and overseeing reading groups. This is all very wonderful, I suppose, but there's just one little problem. For such a large amount of work, the pay is CRAP! Here's a report from Charlene Sweeney at the TimesOnline:

It aims to produce underground literature, but according to some writers, the only thing subversive about a plan to recruit a poet-in-residence for Glasgow's subway system is the pay.
The scheme, thought to be the first of its type for public transport in Scotland, aims to enhance the travelling experience and promote the enjoyment of poetry. Authors praised the creative ambition behind the project, but pointed out that the £13,500 stipend for the 40 hours a week, nine-month residency was at best equivalent to the minimum wage.
The job will involve selecting poems to display in subway stations from existing work and establishing reading and writing groups to study and produce poetry. The successful candidate, who must have a “substantial publication record”, will also be expected to conduct writing workshops in local schools.
Read the rest of the story here.

8 comments:

Jake M said...

What's the usual "hours/week" assumptions for poets laureate? Or is that ever even voiced to applicants?

Paul Vermeersch said...

I don't think most poets laureate are expected to put in a 40 hour work week.

This story is about a writer in residence, which is a different job with different requirements.

Jake said...

What's the difference?

Paul Vermeersch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Vermeersch said...

Being named Poet Laureate is more of an honour than a job. Sure, you are expected to be an ambassador for your art, but you aren't expected to sit down with Shirley Whocares and help her with the enjambment in her gardening sonnet. Writers in residence usually have office hours and certain tasks and objectives. I think the Glasgow Subway System is expecting too much from their poet for what they're paying.

jmm said...

It's a cool idea, though. A p-i-r for a subway system.

Paul Vermeersch said...

Yeah, but somehow I imagine him or her keeping office hours in a grimy old electrical room, under flickering fluorescent lights, just off a busy subway platform.

Jake said...

...or busking. If TTC gets a poet in residence, I vote for that guy at Spadina that plays guitar while at the same time playing a child's xylophone with his feet.