The Woke Are After the Poetry Foundation's $250 Million
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Poetry magazine was founded in Chicago in 1912 by Harriet Monroe, one of the great literary editors of American history.

In June 1915, Poetry unveiled a new poet to the world with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.

One of Monroe’s innovations was that poets should be paid a non-negligible amount of money. She did a lot of fundraising, such as talking wealthy Chicagoans into paying for 5-year subscriptions upfront. She actually preferred traditional 19th Century verse, but was brilliant at picking the best of cutting-edge modernist poetry.

Then in 2003, philanthropist Ruth Lilly of the Eli Lilly fortune donated 9 figures into the Poetry Foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine.

Its current endowment of approximately a quarter of a billion dollars is approaching half the size of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s legendary lucre. So, not surprisingly, the Woke have had their claws out for all that Poetry wealth. Hence, an announcement by Poetry magazine:

September Pause, October Return
Dear Reader,

We’d like to share some updates on the next issues of Poetry magazine.

This September, Poetry is breaking from its legacy of continuous publication and will not print a monthly issue for the first time since its founding by Harriet Monroe in 1912.

Magazine staff made this decision to put people before production. We are acting in part out of necessity, and in majority out of respect to our community, poets, and staff. The manifold violence of our world demands more from us. The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine must be agents of antiracism to build a more loving, supportive, and inclusive community.

We cannot escape Poetry’s history, which we have exalted and continue to profit from. We are committed to understanding that history better in order to dismantle its structures and reparate the magazine’s debt to Black people, Indigenous people, other people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, disabled people, and other marginalized groups of people who have been exploited, sidelined, and tokenized in support of white dominant culture. This pause is a necessary part of Poetry magazine’s reckoning with the deep-seated white supremacy of our organization.

We know one missed issue is a small gesture symbolizing our desire to do better.

We will use this interim period to:

Interrogate and reconfigure the magazine’s editorial processes, power structures, and hiring practices, in coordination with staff, consultants, and community input

I love how the Woke use the verb “interrogate” because it always reminds me of Gestapo Major Hochstetter in Hogan’s Heroes:

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