"Is it easy to be a poet?"

Arguments and Facts, ¹ 1, January,1, 1999.
Written by Iva Barmina

At the meeting in the memory of Galina Starovoytova, a young poetess took the floor and began to recite her verses. The verses of Angelina Polonsky were the only ones heard at that meeting.

Well, Angela, perhaps, people do not want any poetry in our surly prosaic time?
- That is right. Poetry dos not gather full stadiums nowadays, and poets now are not so popular as they were in 1960's. But from my own experience I know that lots more people would visit poetry meetings than one could expect. Surely, most of them were not young, but I would not say that youngsters were not present at all… Mainly people aged 25-35 years … The poets of my generation were reading their verses and I would say they tried to deviate from classical poetry, looking for their own style.

And can they make their living by writing verses?
- The time has changed. Now it seems to be impossible. Talented poets can hardly have both ends meet, unless they have extra earnings. Royalties for books do not help much either, since nowadays authors of all poetic collections have to produce them at their own expense. Newspaper fees, together with poetic rubrics have disappeared from almost all newspapers. Magazines do not pay the authors any royalties. On the contrary, they charge poets with a certain sum of money for any publication. There does exist the so-called caste of poets who have been well known for many years are published everywhere, but I am not one of them yet.

Did You try to enter the caste of songwriters? To my mind, it pays well…
- Once I was introduced to Nadezhda Babkina and wrote a romance for her. I found the whole thing rather extraneous. I did not even save the copy of the text. Just gave it to her and forgot about it. I do not know either if the romance has ever been set to music or if she has ever sung it. I could hardly become a songwriter…

Could You say: "My profession is poetry"?
- It's a difficult question. Certainly, one may earn money by rhyming a certain number of selected syllables. I began to write verses thoughtfully when I was seventeen, and since then everything I was doing in this respect meant much to me. At the same time I was a student of the physical culture institute. I worked for an ice show for eight years, and then I was contracted to work for three years in South America … Not long ago I returned to Moscow and now I am preparing my second book. The first one has already been issued. I often watch people who take the book having no intention to read it through and, suddenly, and, suddenly, become gasped by it. This means there is something that touches them in the verses, isn't there? So, someone needs them...

© A. Polonskaya

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