Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #9

5th Anniversary of Poetry Foundation

Ruth Lilly, who died in 2009, gave an unprecedented, and sometimes still controversial, gift to Poetry magazine of 100 million dollars in 2002. Out of this came the Poetry Foundation whose 5th anniversary this year was the occasion of showing what it’s done with the money.

The Foundation estimates it has brought poems to “nineteen million Americans who would not otherwise have read or heard them”.

Among the Foundation’s projects are Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest; the website of the Foundation itself ( which provides poetry and information on poets; and Poetry magazine under Christian Wiman’s editorship which has tripled its readership (from less than ten thousand five years ago).


Much of what poetry tells us we know already, but not well enough, not keenly enough, not so that it matters. Poetry helps us realize common things better. (David Constantine)