The house was packed at the most recent New York event on Sunday, and satellites have sprung up in Barcelona, Paris, London, Caracas and Auckland. Featured readers like Paul Muldoon (the New Yorker poetry editor and Pulitzer prize winner) and Deborah Landau (director of creative writing at NYU) have moonlighted as poetry whores, lending the enterprise legitimacy and gravitas.
For the likes of Muldoon and Landau, the poetry brothel is something fun and different for a few hours. But for the lesser-known poets, there is real creative and financial benefit to a receptive listener who can provide feedback and monetary compensation. Private readings cost $10 ($20 for a featured reader) and tipping is common; a poet can make a few hundred dollars on a lucrative night.
(Thanks, Max Richards)