introducing readers to writers since 1995

April 19, 2004

All the Money Jokes I Could Put Here
Seem Way Too Obvious...

by Ron Hogan

NYT's Stephen Kinzer hangs out with John W. Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation, where they're still trying to figure out what to do with the $100 million and some dollars Ruth Lilly gave them.

"Poetry helps us live better, helps us understand the human experience. It is with us at the heights and depths of that experience. Our goal is to get it in front of people whose lives it can change for the better. But I'm also very excited about the management opportunities. I don't see any reason why a cultural organization can't be run like a good corporation. If we can do that, we'll not only be on the road to success ourselves but may even be able to give some ideas to other arts groups."

Barr's probably the guy to help them do it; he's published six volumes of poetry and done investment banking at Morgan Stanley. He's also been on the poetry faculty at Sarah Lawrence, which seems to be popping up all over my field of vision lately for some reason.

The Foundation's most visible project right now is Poetry.

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