Poetry on Stage: Harriet Monroe & the Modernists


“I trust that you may be interested in this project for the relief of the muse. It will be a great pleasure and honor if you are willing to testify to that interest by sending us a poem or a group of poems for early publication. Indeed, I can think of no contribution which would delight me more.” So wrote Harriet Monroe to W.B. Yeats in August 1912 in hopes that she might persuade the famous writer to send work to her fledgling journal, Poetry. Yeats sent work, as did such unknown writers as Ezra Pound, Edna St. Vincent Millay, T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, H.D., Wallace Stevens, Carl Sandburg, and countless others. Using a script prepared by Second City Theater co-founder Bernard Sahlins, well-known Chicago actors celebrate Poetry’s 100th birthday by going behind the scenes at the magazine to read the sometimes scandalous, always lively correspondence between Harriet Monroe, her successors, and contributing poets who have since entered the canon of poetry in English. Romance, rivalries, supersized egos, financial difficulties, and sublime kindness will be on display, along with some of the greatest hits from the magazine’s pages.

Doors open 30 minutes before program start time; program will last approximately one hour.

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Sunday, October 7th, 3:00 PM
Monday, October 8th, 7:00 PM
Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street
Free admission, tickets required.
Tickets at or by calling (312) 787-7070. Limit 2 tickets per reservation.
Tickets are no longer available for Harriet Monroe & the Modernists. A limited number of standby tickets may be available on the day of the event. Doors open at 6:30pm on Monday.