Nancy Roman

And Of Course Mom Was Right!

In my essay about my Mom’s advice (“Beyond Clean Underwear”), I quoted my Mother’s career advice:

“Be as creative as you want, but also develop a skill to fall back on. I’ve never seen a want-ad for a poet.”

She said this to me in my junior year of college.  I had just received a third place award in the Wallace Stevens poetry contest at the University of Connecticut.

It was a crazy irony that she should say that. Wallace Stevens, the deservedly celebrated poet, never gave up his day job. He was a Hartford insurance executive.

I knew I was a writer. But Mom (and Wally) were no dummies. So after I finished my English degree – which I stretched for almost six years, being in no hurry to enter the real world – I got a bookkeeping job and eventually an M.B.A.

And Accounting (to quote SNL’s Chico Escuela) has been berry berry good to me.

But now I’m just a few years from retirement. And I plan to do a lot of writing.  (And fishing.)

If I want to actually make money with my writing, or even have a prayer to get published, I’ll have to reconsider poetry, though.

Because I just spent a few hours at Barnes and Noble.

Oh, the books!

Row after row of Biography, Mysteries, Romance, Cookbooks, Children’s Picture Books, Sports, Religion.

Take your choice. Whatever you want.

Most especially if what you want are teenage vampires.

And I went through all these aisles looking for what certainly would be the equally enormous and extraordinary collection of Poetry.

And twelve minutes into my search I found it:



  1. Sadly most people do not seek out poetry. I love the ambiguity, imagery, beauty and emotionality of poetry. Your best forum for your poems may very well be your blog.


  2. *sigh* This is the kind of stuff I can’t let myself think about, otherwise I’ll picture my work abandoned at the bottom of the giveaway bin of my town’s used books store. Maybe we can write teenage vampire poetry?


    • Add a cellphone app and we are in business.


  3. What the heck??? They have got it all wrong, don’t they??? Don’t let that discourage you—-maybe YOU can double that section all on your own!!! 🙂


  4. bigsheepcommunications

    That photo truly says it all, but go ahead, write it anyway!


  5. Kay

    My daughter majored in math at Harvard. She would have been a poet, had it not been for my advice.


  6. Kay



  7. But it’s RIGHT NEXT TO THE RESTROOM!!! That in itself is quite ironic because the women who might benefit most from some serene, lovely, calm poetry might be the very women who are dragging a toddler (holding her crotch) 20 times right past the section while they are in Barnes and Noble for 10 minutes. (Not that I have ever been in that exact situation). Write on. I, for one, will be here reading whatever it is you write because it makes me smile (and usually laugh…loudly).


  8. Isn’t that interesting. I must admit I really don’t seek out poetry, but I always smile when it finds me.


  9. Jackie Paulson

    Nice to meet you I found you from another site, and wow I am 45 and never consider to retire. I have been out of work 8 months now, ugh, (sigh)
    Oh well, I blog to keep busy and I joined in the postadaychallenge in 2011 and now doing the Project 365’s… Glad to know you feel like I do about BOOKs. I love reading. Yes writing too, and I have a poems book I just have to get published but..I am waiting…(sigh) some day… Poems ROCK.


  10. HA. I love this post. Bookstores keep me humble.


  11. Sadly, the way things are going with bookstores these days, the restroom will be the biggest section left, and the only paper found in the store, well, you know…

    Can you write poetry about fish?


    • “One Fish Two Fish
      Red Fish Blue Fish”


      • Dr. Seuss was a very practical poet. AND he made a mint!

        I forgot to mention that my parents didn’t believe that girls should go to college. They sent me to secretarial school instead …


  12. Found you through Elyse’s comments section. Great post. I’ve always liked to write, but haven’t done much till I started blogging a few short months ago. I love it. But I never wrote much before because I thought it impractical! 🙂


  13. Put your poems to music. Look how well it has worked for Sweet Baby James!!


  14. We wait too long to follow our hearts. Follow your heart.


  15. Ha! Yes, they seem to put it in the same spot at Barnes and Nobles everywhere. But if anyone can breathe new life into poetry (or, you know, get it placed in a spot where people actually CAN breathe), I bet it’s you, Nancy!


  16. I think a lot of us followed the sage advice and took the good job with the retirement package and now we see the end of that career approaching and it’s all we can do to hold back the excitement as we forge into – swallow – a brand new career! Yes, the one we have passion for – poets and writers and artists unite!


    • Exactly. I have no complaints about my career in Finance. But oh, I can’t wait to do something completely different. I guess that’s why I blog.


  17. It might be helpful to have a hook to your poetry…becoming cliche’s idea of teenage vampire poetry is brilliant. Maybe turn the mindless drunken ramblings of Snooki and the Jersey Shore brood into haikus? Or love sonnets ripped from the rose ceremonies of the bachelor/bachelorette/bachelor pad?


  18. That is so wrong! Although I was trying to think of something that should be placed next to the restroom, and I am kind of at a loss.


  19. pharphelonus

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    To make money as a poet
    Just be you.


  20. Good thing that accounting has been good to you, because now it can subsidize your profit-less poetry pastime.


  21. Wow! Is that all? Maybe poetry’s the ticket, especially if you love writing it!!


  22. Very interesting. You found your niche, small and tucked away though it may be. 😉


  23. love it and love your stories that feature your mom too


  24. I love poetry, especially because it is so personal and we each can interpret it however we see it.
    I would like to award you the Versatile Blogger Award. I hope you accept. You can read about it here:


    • I second that Versatile Blogger Award nomination for you !! Yay!!



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