Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jazz and Health, Poetry and Health

One of the ongoing issues in the world of jazz made the New York Times today: jazz musicians often have no health insurance, so when they get ill, their friends have to organize benefit performances for them.

This is, of course, a reason to be for universal health insurance (says the American living in Switzerland), but in the absence of that, it's also a reason for performing artists to have teaching jobs if they cannot afford to pay for health insurance.

By extension, this is one of my arguments in favor of giving poets teaching jobs: they get health insurance!

So if you're one of those poets who thinks that creative-writing programs are ruining poetry, just remember that, in one sense at least, they are keeping poetry alive—by keeping poets alive.


Here's the spectacular photo of John Scofield and Joe Lovano from the above article:

(Scofield and Lovano fans: don't worry, they're not sick.)


Joannie Stangeland said...

Alas, are there enough teaching jobs to provide health insurance for all the poets? And what about those poor souls who don't have MFAs?

Universal health care seems like the better bet. And then, there's always the day job, even though it tends to sap a lot out of the day.

Andrew Shields said...

Clearly, Universal Health Care is the way to go!

I guess the larger point is that the critique of poets-who-teach-creative-writing does not take the larger social context into account.

Joannie Stangeland said...

(Full disclosure: I don't have an MFA; I realized that bit could have seemed snippy.)

Andrew Shields said...

Didn't seem snippy to me!

Full disclosure: I don't have an MFA either! :-)