Why the Poetry Foundation Shake-Up Is One to Watch
June 11, 2020 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I’m going to take a brief moment to contemplate the wonder of needing an article to tell me which major institutional reform I should be paying attention to.
posted by zamboni at 11:08 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]

I had no idea a foundation existed at this level of endowment to support poetry. I can imagine it could have enormous cultural impact, if only it had the will.
posted by panglos at 3:04 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]

I liked their response to the foundation's measly four-sentence statement:
“As poets, we recognize a piece of writing that meets the urgency of its time with the appropriate fire when we see it — and this is not it,” the letter reads.
posted by kristi at 3:08 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]

More to the point, I appreciate the poets pointing out - as so many voices have been pointing out this week - that people have been calling for change for a long time, and those calls have been pretty much ignored up to now:
“For years, your constituents have been calling on the Foundation to redistribute more of its enormous resources to marginalized artists, to make concrete commitments to and change-making efforts in your local community and beyond.”
I really want to encourage every organization that's trying to recognize and finally address the injustices they've failed to address for so long. And I really want to encourage individuals, too, to make those changes. But the failure to act in the past an important truth that needs to be named, too.
posted by kristi at 3:15 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]

Living in Chicago, I of course knew about the legacy from the Lilly Heiress that allowed the Poetry Foundation to move from the basement of the Newberry Library to their present digs. I did not know that the subsequent 'corporatization' of the Foundation made it possible to hire someone like Bienen for the kind of money he was making. W.T.F?

The one reason enablers always point to when discussing compensation for CEO's of non-profits is the TED talk about why they 'deserve' the money they are making; pointing to the fundraising requirements. Here, there is no requirement as they already have the funds they need. What is required is someone with a different mindset, especially community engagement. So why is Bienen being paid this much?
posted by indianbadger1 at 8:44 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]

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