Advance payment for poet first off (4)
I believe the answer is:
Here is my best explanation:
'advance payment' is the definition.
(I've seen this before)
'poet first off' is the wordplay.
'poet' becomes 'dante' (I've seen this before).
'first off' means to remove the first letter.
'dante' with its first letter removed is 'ANTE'.
'for' is the link.
(Other definitions for ante that I've seen before include "Poker pot starter", "Player's stake in poker - a ten? (anag)", "Bet", "Prefix meaning before", "Stake put up by a poker-player before receiving cards", "Stake put up before the deal", "Hoofed mammal", "Initial stake in a poker game", "A stake" and "Money put at risk".)