Most [acclaimed poets] could have given up their day jobs in a second. The reason they didn’t was that they didn’t want poetry to be their job. It’s much easier to be inspired in the course of normal working life than sitting in front of a blank piece of paper, because the problem with giving up your job as a probation officer or a mortician or a teacher is that often it is the daily contact with humanity that provides the inspiration for your work.
While across the pond on NPR*, Already Poor, Poets Don't Much Mind the Recession:
Poets and those who publish them are used to earning next to nothing for their work. ...
"I just gave a reading last week, and much to my surprise, I sold 15 copies," says Keith Taylor, a poet and teacher at the University of Michigan. "I thought I might sell two."
*National Public Radio