Magazine article Book

It Never Rains ... ... It Pours. Money, in This Case. Tiny Poetry Magazine Bits the Jackpot but Stays Humble. (Poetics)

Magazine article Book

It Never Rains ... ... It Pours. Money, in This Case. Tiny Poetry Magazine Bits the Jackpot but Stays Humble. (Poetics)

Article excerpt

NOVEMBER 2002, THE PEACEFUL FOUR-PERSON WORLD of Poetry magazine, which is housed on the second floor of the Newberry Library in Chicago, was suddenly and thoroughly rocked. Ruth Lilly, the eighty-seven-year-old heir to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, had made a gift to the not-for-profit organization that publishes the renowned magazine. A gift given in support of Poetry, but also in appreciation of its exceptionally polite refusals is of her own submissions. A gift, it turned out, reportedly amounting to approximately $100 million to be paid out in installments over the next several years.

Within days of the story breaking, Time, People, The New Yorker, the BBC and hundreds of other media outlets hit the phones, clamoring for interviews. Within a month, the staff had been inundated with more than a thousand new subscription requests--not bad, considering that before November, the magazine had a circulation of 9,500.

A weary-sounding Joseph Parisi, the editor of the ninety-year-old magazine, reckons the next few months will bring a lot more meetings, a few new staff members, new housing for the office and a flood of requests for money--requests, Parisi says, from poets looking for patronage. …

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