11.20.2007

NYTimes & the Poetry Foundation gift

Interesting article from the NYTimes came across my email through the virtual maze of poets and poetry information strands. The NYTimes published this article about the 5-year mark of the huge Ruth Lilly gift (Huge, meaning 100 million dollars) to the Poetry Foundation in 2002. This was quite a controversial gift and this article goes in to that controversy a bit here and there although not quite enough.

But interesting to think that Poetry magazine originally published "High Modernists" in the teens and twenties. I wonder who would even be considered a "High Modernist Equivalent" today and if that's the kind of writing Poetry would publish. Something tells me that "High Modernist" and "poetry of public appeal" might not be in the same camp! But doesn't there usually have to be some sort of controversy for the form to move forward? That's what makes it move forward, something snaps open. Right? Something is taking a risk outside of the norm. It's outside the "public appeal" camp (and often hated, even) and then because of that epic motion: snap. What do you think? Where is the line between innovation and inaccessible? And why do we want poetry to be accessible when visual art moved beyond this norm years ago? Hmm...

I do agree, it seems that the $100 million dollars would have been put to better use by creating a grantmaking program and then all sorts of little literary journals and magazines and reading series and residency programs and small presses could have also benefited from the funds. So...if you're interested in fundraising, philanthropy, poetry debates, or the current state of literary affairs, give this article a read. I'd love to know your thoughts...

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Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.