An editor, perhaps from Nantucket, said, “take this job and …”

An editor, perhaps from Nantucket, said, “take this job and …”: Remember a year ago when Poetry Magazine was given $100 million by an heir to the Ely Lilly fortune. And then, later, the amount shrunk when the bank “forgot” to sell the Lilly stock. Well, all those financial and legal hassles and all those meetings tend to get on the nerves of those who edit poetry magazines. The Chicago Tribune catches us up (registration required) with the folks at Poetry, one year later.


On Aug. 8, two months after turning the editorship he had held for 20 years over to his hand-picked successor, (Joseph) Parisi, 58, quit as executive director of publications and programs, severing ties with an organization he had joined in 1976. He wouldn’t discuss reasons for departing except to say he plans to pursue writing, lecturing and teaching projects. But he makes it clear he had little patience with all the detail and paperwork associated with the outsize bequest. “It’s a terrible burden,” he said, adding, “You have no idea how many meetings you need.”

(Note to Poetry Magazine: Use a little of that windfall to spruce up your website. Maybe expose some of the content to the world in a way that could help your contributors reach and even wider audience. Maybe you could acquire some of those other classy poetry websites like this one or one of these.)

(Note number 2 (for those not bored silly by this meandering post): By coincidence, over the weekend I read the non-fiction thriller, The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, a riviting read about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. (I know that sounds like a yawner of a topic, but it’s filled with murder and mayhem.) Anyway, the book includes a cameo appearance by Harriet Monroe, the founder of Poetry Magazine. She was the admiring biographer (and sister-in-law) of John Root, one of the fair’s architects. I could meander more, but I’ll spare you. (via romenesko)