Professor and Poet, Robert Carnevale tossed this question up for debate:
Should professional performers be hired to read a poet's work, or should the poet read the work himself?
The question was given with the acknowledgement that some poets have no desire to read their work in front of an audience, and some poets read horribly. Others are happily talented in both writing and presenting their work. Some people commented on the celebrity poetry readings last year (was it last year?) in Lincoln Center, and mentioned that Merril Streep and Natalie Portman, among others, stood out for the quality of their performances.
At present, the assumption is that the poet will present his own work. Mary Oliver delivers Mary Oliver's poems, and subsequently is paid for the reading. We have no "Poetry Performers" as we have Singers who sing, but do not write their songs.
There's a Bukowski poem (whose title I don't remember) where he talks about his anxiety and loathing of reading his work to an audience.
Well, well. It's an interesting idea. If there were actually a market for poetry, the conclusion would certainly hinge upon what makes money.
And now for a complete non sequitur
1. My very own "Snark Noir" was posted on my very ultimate most super best favorite blog, http://misssnark.blogspot.com on a May 11, 2006 post.