Requests, Tutoring, Commissions & Advice

My income has grown very thin and this is my own fault.

I love writing, whether it’s poetry, short stories, novels yet to finish, or contributing to this blog. I receive many requests for information on particular poems and for (in effect) tutoring. Many poets have asked if they can send me their poetry for advice. I don’t regret the time I’ve already given. Part of our reason for being in this world is to generously give to others.

Possibly by the end of the year this blog will have received a million visits or more. If even half of those visits are mistakes, which is likely, that’s still half a million students, poets, and readers of poetry. If just half those visitors donated just one dollar, I could support myself, my family and devote myself to offering students and readers more of the information they have already enjoyed. If you feel you have benefited from the articles in this blog, please consider donating.

Alternately, offering advice on poetry, responding to requests and tutoring, are services which I will offer in exchange for your donation. I’m glad to offer half-hour to hour long tutoring sessions, via chat, if you are a student with specific questions concerning a given poem or poetry in general. The price for these tutoring sessions will be fixed. If you would like me to analyze or discuss a given poem in a post, the commission will be based on the number of lines in the poem. If you would like my reaction to your poetry, I ask you to decide for yourself what you’re willing to donate.

Meanwhile, enjoy the summer and read some poetry.

6 responses

  1. As a poetry editor I get this all the time. However, what I suggest you do is set yourself up as a reading agent and/or tutor for poetry and charge a fixed fee; keep that business side entirely separate from your blog here (except for mentioning it now and again – have it on your ‘About’ page, and announce in a post that you have started up in that capacity). Perhaps you should set up a separate web site. It’s always a risky thing asking other bloggers for a ‘donation’ – maybe you will adopt a policy of “Okay the first one’s free, but for the next one and the one after that please go to my professional page.” Just a thought.

    At the moment I’m in the process of deciding whether to devote some considerable effort to editing and writing a preface for a poetry collection by another poet. It’s a time-consuming process and will keep me from my own writing. Decisions have to be made.

    Marie Marshall


    • Thank you Marie, your suggestions correspond with what I’m planning. There are a couple of companies that will set up a pay-per-session chat service for a monthly or yearly fee. The fees are fairly steep for an individual, $400 to $700 dollars a year, so I’m exploring alternatives. (Such an arrangement would have to be strictly supported by the service offered, not through donations.) Rather than an About page, I’ve created a ‘Services’ page (which should be visible above). As to other bloggers, I fully agree. I don’t expect other bloggers to donate. There are other ways we support each other: through links, comments and recommendations. :-) I need to do more of that, simply because I enjoy promoting the work of others.


  2. Reblogged this on circlecitadel and commented:
    Patrick Gillespie is a fantastic teacher. If there are any who seek advice regarding poetry, then they should visit him; his advice is invaluable; likewise, donate.


  3. I love reading what I find here and am grateful for your efforts. My writing has led me to abject poverty and abstract riches. I always thought it part of the process. Can you not find work with your hands somewhat to live, or at least write copy as a corporate shill in the stead of begging for donations. If you are working for someone, and they are paying you, it is commonly referred to as remuneration for time serviced. Skype has a service where you can charge a fee for speaking with clients. This may be a better model of revenue for you than the donation route. Again, I really enjoy your blog and appreciate & look forward to the continuing free content.
    “If even half of those visits are mistakes” – for some reason this is the saddest phrase in context, both self-reproachful and condescending, and worthy of a dejected bum or deflecting dingoe, but not a energetic hobo of poetry. There is also a filthy medium called advertising which, although not as soulfully rewarding as literati-sitting, can fetch you some dollars while leaving you time for the family.
    You riches are already legion and money will dance toward you in due process. “Part of our reason for being in this world is to generously give to others.” Is the other part to beg?
    Have fun, take heart and fear not the lone wolf of poverty at the door who shrinks from a resolved glower.
    If any of you creature-comforted cats reading this have any extra, give this gentle man $1!
    If I win the lottery tomorrow, or sell a book or two I promise not to forget you and what I’ve read between the lines.
    My wife tells me I’m wasting paper….at least you have the richness of encouragement!
    The Art of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum is a good read that cheers me when I am broke.


    • Hi Benj, thanks for the tip on Skype.

      //Can you not find work with your hands…//

      I do. I’m a builder. I work with my hands, nail guns, block plains, table saws, and so on. I fix houses and I can build them from the ground up. The issue isn’t that I can’t find work (though that’s increasingly difficult), it’s that I would like to make money doing what I love, writing. That’s not your problem or anyone else’s. The fact that I haven’t done that yet is my problem.

      //Is the other part to beg?//

      Begging is the attempt to get something for nothing. I’m not begging, right? Thousands of developers make a living selling apps for a dollar apiece. It’s a great way to make a living, but I just happen to write poetry and posts on poetry rather than code. And Benji, your encouragement is worth more than a dollar. I’ll take that as your donation any day (and from anyone else too). :-) Thank you.


  4. I work at the post office now. I erase graffitti on the side. Are you still at sidework, or writing full?
    I am sorry for being flippant on this old post. Thank you for forgiving my uncouth declasse reaction to emotional content that maybe triggered a response I was not entitled to. Social media is difficult, for me, sometimes. I am learning what are opinions. What can happen if you become a walking opinion…opinions are like……yup. Poetry is more important than going to Mars. I can say that here…but why say it, regardless? To anger Mars?? Science? Sorry.


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