Some poets are loners who spend hours in isolation trying to put words to their emotions. No matter how far out in the woods of Maine a poet lives, though, there's always that little part of their brain that thinks maybe, just maybe, the Pulitzer committee is going to come knocking on their door one day and hand them the big prize.
Poetry's one of the most lasting and influential of all the arts. Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey sometime around the 8th century BCE—almost 3,000 years ago—and people are still picking up copies today. Too bad he's not still around to collect on the royalties.
Thankfully, much like the ancient Greeks, America values its poets. Well, at least one anyway. That's why we have the Poet Laureate, the one person in the country making a living writing poems that a child in class might actually be able to name. It's an honorable gig and an incredible privilege, and some of the greatest names in American writing have held the job.
We say job, but they actually only get a $35,000 stipend. That's right; the Poet Laureate of the United States makes less than the average baggage handler. We'll understand if you want to reconsider here.