Poetry Magazine Redesign
CHICAGO—Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman announced today a redesign of the 93-year old literary publication. Poetry's new look premieres with the April issue, currently on newsstands.
Wiman, appointed editor in 2003, has overseen a period of dramatic growth at the magazine. In the last twelve months circulation of the monthly has increased 60%, to 17,800 in March 2005. A special National Poetry Month promotion to book clubs has resulted in a circulation of 27,000 for the April issue.
According to Wiman the update is intended to "make the magazine as lively and contemporary in its look as it is in its content." The April issue features an original cover illustration by artist Henrik Drescher. Subsequent issues will present a range of well-known illustrators and artists.
The redesigned issue also includes a new editorial feature, The View From Here, wherein notable writers from outside the poetry world—such as the Executive Editor of Good Housekeeping Judith Coyne, Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens, Special Assistant to President George W. Bush Timothy Goeglein, and Lt. General William James Lennox of West Point—discuss their personal experiences of poetry. In addition, the magazine presents new poems by Billy Collins, Kay Ryan, Cathy Song, and A.E. Stallings; and, in a special article in honor of National Poetry Month, Poetry's regular writers comment on the strained and sometimes hilarious relationship between poet and audience.
Under Wiman's leadership recent issues of the magazine have included extended debates on the place of poetry in American culture, including exchanges on war and poetry, the institution of the poet laureate, and the validity of poetry prizes. The upcoming editorial line-up includes a humor issue, with a special feature by acclaimed radio host and humorist Garrison Keillor, and commentary by poets Kay Ryan and Dean Young.
Coinciding with the magazine redesign, Poetry has re-launched its website—www.poetrymagazine.org. Online, the publication expands on the printed magazine and includes improved navigation and unique content. Internet audiences can read and see photos of the original 1912 volume of Poetry and download a Discussion Guide for the April issue. Both the magazine and website designs were overseen by William Drenttel of Winterhouse Studio in Falls Village, Connecticut.
The redesigned magazine website is part of a cadre of websites to be housed together within The Poetry Foundation framework at www.poetryfoundation.org.
In discussing the Foundation's new online resources, John Barr, President of The Poetry Foundation, said, "This is the first phase of what we intend will become a major American website for poetry." Later in the year, additional features available on the Foundation website will include a searchable database of contemporary and classical verse, a poetry glossary, and a children's poetry center.
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Harriet Monroe's "Open Door" policy, set forth in Volume I of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry's mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H. D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every significant poet of the 20th century.
Poetry has always been independent, unaffiliated with any institution or university—or with any single poetic or critical movement or aesthetic school. It continues to print the major English-speaking poets, while presenting emerging talents, in all their variety. In recent years, more than a third of the authors published in the magazine have been young writers appearing for the first time. On average, the magazine receives over 90,000 submissions per year, from around the world. In a recent poll conducted by Writer's Digest, Poetry was ranked "number 1" among journals poets "most like to see their bylines in."
Established in 2003, upon receipt of a generous financial gift from philanthropist Ruth Lilly, The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the best poetry before the largest possible audience. In the coming year, the Foundation will sponsor a poetry recitation contest, several new poetry prizes, and an unprecedented study to understand poetry's place in American culture.