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April is National Poetry Month

Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW) English professor and nationally-recognized poet George Kalamaras knows you can’t make a living from writing poetry.

“You have to find a way to practice being a poet, and get a job that puts food on the table.”

Kalamaras has been a professor at PFW since 1990; and through his position in the English department, he has not only been able to continue to write poetry, but also through the courses he engages students with reading and writing poetry.

Although students can’t necessarily make a living as poets, Kalamaras believes the skills developed through learning about poetry are relevant to the workplace.

“You don’t just write a poem. You learn ways to look, understand and analyze the world. Through poetry, you learn how to communicate through language and to express yourself. Poetry teaches you multiple points of view which I think are valuable attributes,” he said.

Kalamaras served as Indiana’s Poet Laureate from 2014-2016, and has published 15 collections of poetry.

“There are so many stereotypes about poets and poetry. For me being a poet is about the practice of poetry. Just like attorneys practice law and doctors practice medicine, poets practice poetry,” he said.

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