There are advantages in becoming nationally (or regionally) known for writing poetry about a particular topics -
- the media will know who to contact
- commissions might come your way
- you may be asked to edit an anthology or a magazine special issue
- you might run a poetry festival session or a poetry school course
- a non-poetry conference on the topic might ask you to run a session/workshop to provide "something different"
The topic shouldn't be too general ("bereavement", for example) or too esoteric. Some topics (medicine, therapy) have enough tie-ins with poetry to keep several poets busy. Here are some examples -
- Ian McMillan has Football.
- David Morley has Romani.
- Maybe Lavinia Greenlaw and Mario Petrucci first come to mind when people want a quote about Science and Poetry.
- Simon Armitage and pop music?
- Michael Bartholomew-Biggs and Maths
- Matthew Stewart and wine?
- Jon Stone and Manga?
I work in a science setting, but Science and Poetry don't work well together for me, so when a few years ago I was asked about helping with a radio show on the topic, I suggested that they get in touch with Greenlaw. I've assembled a pamphlet on word-play (anagrams, acrostics) and poetry, though I read in the latest Rialto that Abigail Parry's finishing a Ph.D on word-play and poetry, out-trumping me.
So I'll plod as I am, comforted by the thought that there's less risk of being typecast.