The Christian Science Monitor says that Poetry magazine is still fussing over what to do with the hundred million bucks donated by Ruth Lilly, heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune. I admit that most of my daydreams about winning the lottery turn into nightmarish anxiety attacks about all the trouble that’d come from such a sudden windfall. But I’m a little neurotic and weird. Surely these guys…oh wait. They’re poets. Still, this comment surprised me:
Spending those installments – $14 and $15 million the first two years – does not mean a thicker magazine with more poems. (Although the poets who now publish there receive $6 a line instead of the $2 they earned previously.)
Huh? Why not publish a thicker magazine with more poems AND pay the new 6 bucks a line? Why not publish a thicker, more beautiful magazine more often and pay 10 bucks a line? For poets, these people have no imagination. And then there’s this:
Instead, most of the money will be used to build a larger audience for poetry and to show the world how the art form is relevant to daily life. Exactly how to do that has not yet been decided.
That one’s easy. Dole it out in outrageously generous grants to particularly good-looking and unstable poets. They’d be sure to make Page Six faster than Britney Spears on speed. (They’re going to try to show how poetry is relevant to daily life? Either it is your daily life – or it’s completely irrelevant.)