I work in the private sector and it’s because I work in the private sector, I take a very common sense approach to everything so when I get things in the mail like a flyer for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival next year and see how much they are charging for workshops ($725 if you qualify to participate, $350 just to hang out and listen in said workshop), I am staggered by the economics of this. While the workshop facilitators are quite qualified and are big names in the poetry game, I’m not sure paying that kind of money for a 16 hour workshop is good economics. Yet, the demand is there to where they can charge that amount and fill those slots, like when Elton John or Madonna charges hundreds of dollars for concert tickets because of their legacy.
It’s not just festivals like this that bother me. AWP charges everyone, even panelists (albeit a smaller amount) to come in and play to sit in on lectures and buy books. The National Poetry Slam provided competitors SWAG, gave access to all shows, and tickets to finals, well worth the $400-$500 for a team (which equates to about $100 per person for about five days of programming – a bargain). The only non-poetry slam related conference that seems to make any sense in terms of pricing and value is Conversations and Connections, which I’ll most likely attend in lieu of AWP next year. It seems incredibly practical.
Note: private industry has it’s share of strange economics as well. My field (corporate training) has a professional organization, the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD). I went to one of their mini-conferences six years ago and wasn’t convinced on how useful they would be to me. Their memberships fees and their conference fees ($1,100 to attend a conference if you are a member, $199 for a yearly membership) make AWP and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival look like bargains.
I’d like to facilitate a workshop and I would be pretty reasonable about my rates. If you want to hit me up for one, e-mail me and we’ll hash it out.
I have copies of my latest chapbook, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore and I’m making an offer you shouldn’t refuse. To learn more about it, click here. If you are on Tumblr, let’s be Tumblr friends.
My latest installment of I Am Trying To Break Your Sex Laws is up. You should read it here and then submit a question.