How money changed the Poetry Foundation

The New Yorker has an article online discussing the massive $200 million grant the Poetry Foundation received in 2002 from Ruth Lilly (of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly fame). The Poetry Foundation publishes Poetry magazine.

From the article:

Money is a shocking thing in poetry, and Ruth Lilly’s gift was greeted with a measure of ambivalence. Howard Junker, the editor of the San Francisco journal Zyzzyva, wrote a letter to the Times—after it ran a piece about poetry’s bright days ahead—admitting that “Ruth Lilly’s generosity makes me green with envy.” But, he went on, “A gift this size to such a small organization is bad philanthropy. . . . The struggle for the staff and the board will now be how to spend the money. Sustaining the vision of a venerable little magazine will become an afterthought. Drowning in cash might seem a dream come true; more likely it will turn out to be a nightmare.”

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