HigherEd.com Salary Survey

Schmooze with a bunch of writers for a long enough time and you are bound to hear this: “I’m not in it for the money.”

I too, subscribe to that belief. My goal, however, is to be able to write and pay my bills, and buy gifts for my family, and pay for a few writing retreats or travel (research!) opportunities each year. When I dream, I let myself imagine six figure multi-book deals and there’s nothing wrong with putting that out into the universe. Realistically,  I know that even if sweet advances come, they will be inconsistent and unpredictable. There has to be some sort of day job that controls the income.

For many writers, that day job is teaching. Some writers teach K-12, others teach in higher ed. Higheredjobs.com recently published its annual salary survey and I thought I’d share it here for any interested party. If you are working in a Tenure/or Tenure Track position, I’d love to know if these numbers seem accurate. I’d also love to know more about the actual availability of Tenure/Tenure-Track positions. I spend a lot of time on HigherEdJobs.com and on the AWP Jobs Board. If you’ve been on a hiring committee, what makes a candidate stand out? Are positions listed as open really open to the general public? Is there usually an inside candidate?

Happy Writing.

March Madness Poetry 2014 Gets Real. No Foolin’!

Perhaps you were one of the kind people who voted for me in the first round of the #MMPoetry 2014 competition. If so, you were one of a minority. The majority voted for Queen of Children’s Literature, Jane Yolen. Her humorous poem had to include the word svelte (Which I thought was Yiddish in derivation and so the bacon reference especially funny… actually the word has an Italian derivation.)

My word was bemoan. I always try to write two or more poems in the time we’re given (under 36 hours). Some of the drafted poems end up being very bad. For bemoan, I wrote three, two of them decent. Because it would be published on the first day of spring, I went with the more serious. Perhaps that was a mistake.

You can read both poems from the competition here.

A huge thank you to Ed Decaria for organizing and mediating the logistical beast that is the March Madness Poetry competition. He puts in a ton of time and energy all to fulfill the honorable mission of getting kids excited about poetry.

Here for your viewing pleasure are all three of the poems I wrote in advance of the competition.  These are the first drafts. Feel free to make comments below and while you’re feeling critical, head over to the Think Kid Think website to judge the #MMPoetry 2014′s “Elite Eight”!

The Sub

John plays music while we work
he lets me change my seat.
His stories make us gasp and cringe
we email, chat, and tweet.

We sang Bohemian Rhapsody
he’s epitome of cool,
We all bemoan tomorrow
when Miss Phlegm returns to school.

Poet’s Note: The concern here was, would people know that the named John was the sub in question.

First Day of Spring (this poem appeared in the competition.)

I never though the day would come
when I’d bemoan the snow.
Instead, my nose against the glass
I’d watch the white stuff grow.

But now I crave some color
some warmth, and sun, and rain.
The calendar says springtime
but the snow has come again.

Poet’s Note: Here I was concerned that the poem was too quiet and serious for my audience but I liked the rhythm and the wording. In the comments of the competition, many people connected to the imagery in the line “nose against the glass” which made me happy.

Brotherly Love (a limerick)

There once was a boy who played flute
His brother preferred drums and lute
He’d often bemoan
The flute’s squeaky tone
So he rendered the instrument mute.

Poet’s Note: Because there were two boys, the second he is difficult to understand. Plus, I didn’t have enough lines or syllables to be explicit about what happened to the poor flute.