A career in the arts “don’t plant no corn,” Bruce Dethlefsen’s father told him when he was a boy in Kansas City in the 1950s. Soon, his job as Wisconsin’s poet laureate may not even pay gas money.
The $2,000 annual budget for the post, which Dethlefsen assumed Jan. 1, is a casualty of Governor Scott Walker’s drive for austerity. The first-term Republican, whose proposal to curb collective bargaining for public employees has incited protests across the U.S., faces a $3.6 billion deficit over the next biennium. His proposed budget seeks $3.4 billion in savings and spending cuts.