Poetry Foundation: Shame on You

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I don’t know the last time so many readers were exposed to so many poets. And to judge by the content of the comments (and not just at the Huffington Post) the majority of the respondents were unfamiliar with the majority of the poets Shivani roasted (queue irony).

Where was the Poetry Foundation?

The most that I can find is a bloodless Copy/Paste/Link squib at harriet.

This is what $200,000,000 dollars (bequeathed by the heiress Ms. Lilly) buys us? The Poetry Foundation should be ashamed of itself. Anis Shivani with his, albeit, negative criticism, probably brought more attention to more poets and to more readers than the Poetry Foundation has managed since its inception. Evidence? Have you seen upwards of 2,000 comments on a harriet post?

M.I.A. Why?

Why is this all that the Poetry Foundation can manage? An organization (worth its salt) would have jumped on this opportunity to enter the conversation. To date I, myself, did more work on this subject than an entire $200,000,000 dollar organization supposedly devoted to the furtherance of poetry and poets (or the discussion thereof). Why? Is it because Shivani didn’t post it at their site (instead of Huffington Post)? Do they consider themselves above it? Are they piqued because Shivani skewered their belovèd idols? Is it a dis? Maybe it’s nothing more than indifference and indolence – nobody can be bothered. Maybe they think it doesn’t matter?

Whatever the reason, it’s inadequate.

If this portends the future of the Poetry Foundation, it doesn’t look good.

5 responses

  1. Yes, your posts were brilliantly done. Clearly though you are not literally a venerable institution answerable to a board may not hold virtual meetings. Issues of appropriate tone could slow them down as well.
    Having struggled to try to appreciate or even penetrate the work of Jorie Graham & Louise Gluck, I also wonder if it’s taking them time to find just the right poems to counter the critique.


    • I don’t know the reasons. However, what showed up was absurdly inadequate.

      And I’m not suggesting that the appropriate response is to counter the critique. But Shivani’s article was a great opportunity for the Poetry Foundation and they blew it. If they, above all, can’t be bothered to so much as show up at the dance, then why should the rest of the country care about poetry?

      They offered up nothing. Nothing at all.


  2. Hi Patrick,
    I have just read Shivani’s article. I will look at Let Poetry Die tonight. Do you know if Shivani has published the nest article he mentions on underrated writers?
    Thank you so much for posting your blog.


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