No real comment on this one, just think it’s sort of interesting. Apparently an heir to the Lilly fortune (drug company) gave $100 million to a magazine called Poetry. As Slate points out, this might not have been the best way to support poetry (lowercase “p”):
Poetry, which had a staff of four, an annual budget of $600,000, and a circulation of approximately 12,000, is suddenly among the best-endowed cultural institutions in the world. (The Guggenheim Foundation’s assets are $219 million.) There’s little evidence that Parisi will be adept at managing large sums of money or the publishing house he reportedly plans to start; and yet the Lilly bequest means the sun will never set on Poetry’s empire.
The article goes on to suggest a few other ways the money could have been better spent, mostly grants and the like. Not sure those ideas are great either, but I can’t disagree that most anything would be better than giving the whole sum to one publication. Mostly, though, I found the article’s title interesting: “Ruth Lilly’s venture capital for poets.” What the article comes up with is much less venture capital than the way non-profit grants are divvied out at the moment. Since there isn’t really any money in poetry, I imagine it would be quite difficult to “invest” in poets with hope of returns, but it’s fun to try to figure out how a program like that might work.