Executive director of Poets House Lee Briccetti talks about the relocation and expansion of the country's largest poetry library.
A decade after the founding of Cave Canem, Eady speaks about the ways in which the organization has developed into a "safe haven for black poets."
Six months ago, John Barr was named president of the Poetry Foundation. While many poets had never heard of the former Wall Street investment banker (although he is the author of six books of poetry and served on the board of directors of Yaddo as well as that of the Poetry Society of America) many are now acutely aware of the leader of the organization that received a pledge of $100 million over the next thirty years from pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly.
In 1998, Dan Bowers, an engineering consultant in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, was on a mission. His son-in-law, Chief Master Sergeant Frederick Honeywell, was serving at an Air Force base in Kuwait that had no recreational facilities and no library—and indeed, no books. When Honeywell's wife, Chris, told her father about the problem, Bowers sent some of his own books, as well as donations from others, overseas. It was the first deployment of what eventually became Operation Paperback. Six years later, the nonprofit organization has sent nearly 150,000 books to American troops in more than 30 locations, including Afghani-stan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
mong organizations hit hardest during the post-9/11 era, in which funding for the arts has been sharply curtailed, literary nonprofits are struggling to simultaneously serve their missions and remain solvent. Despite the economic downturn, two nonprofit organizations—Milkweed Editions, a small press based in Minneapolis, and the St. Mark's Poetry Project in New York City—have maintained financial stability, but more challenges lie ahead: The directors of both organizations, Emilie Buchwald and Ed Friedman, recently retired.
On April 1 Tree Swenson took up the post of executive director of the Academy of American Poets, the New York City–based membership organization responsible for founding National Poetry Month. Swenson succeeds William Wadsworth.
This year the Poetry Society of America is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Poetry in Motion—the program that brings poems to subways and buses across the country. The 92-year-old literary nonprofit is printing newly designed posters, sponsoring a poetry contest, and hosting readings in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.
The Academy of American Poets, the 68-year-old literary nonprofit, has made headlines recently, but not for its latest party or prizewinner. In September the organization, best known for founding National Poetry Month, announced that Executive Director William Wadsworth had been asked to resign by board of directors president Henry Reath. And on November 7, the board voted to lay off eight of the Academy's seventeen employees and to subdivide its new office and rent out half of the space, which the group had renovated and moved into in August.
In honor of poet Robert Bly's 75th birthday last month, the Minneapolis-based Loft Literary Center, in conjunction with the McKnight Foundation, revived Bly's innovative literary magazine—originally titled The Fifties, in honor of the decade in which it was founded—by publishing the first issue of The Thousands.