Poetry News

Patricia Lockwood's Fans and Followers Help Fund Her Husband's Eye Surgeries

By Harriet Staff

This is an awesome story. If you know Patricia Lockwood's work (her first book is forthcoming from Octopus Books) or follow her legendary Twitter account then you know a. she is awesome and b. she recently took to Twitter when overwhelmed at the news that her husband had been diagnosed with posterior subcapsular cataracts in both eyes. Her followers, almost immediately, offered support and willingness to help chip in to cover her husband's surgery, which costs $10, 000.

Here's a bit from this story on Shareable:

Twitter may be a compelling forum for poetry, but can it support its poets?

Perhaps no self-described poet has taken to the form as well as Patricia Lockwood. Though she's been published in some top-level mainstream outlets, Lockwood has received the most notice for her 140-character work. Her "sexts" drew the attention of the Huffington Post (not known for its poetry coverage), and HTML Giant called her the "Poet Laureate of Twitter." With over 10,000 unusually devoted followers reading her work every day (plus copious retweets), Lockwood might just be the most popular poet in the United States. But when crisis hit, it wasn't clear if she could turn that admiration into the support she needed.

Last week, Lockwood's husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cataracts and was going blind at 30. He would need a full lens replacement on both eyes, and fast. The cost: $10,000. Emergency medical expenses like this are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the US, and it's easy to see why: Who has 10 grand sitting around? Yesterday, Lockwood took to her blog with an appeal to her fans and a donate button:

"I posted about it on Twitter because I was basically losing my mind with worry and the outpouring of support was astonishing; people suggested that I do this so I am doing this because they wanted to help, which made me cry, and some quote about the color purple, if you walk past the color purple in a field and do not make it donate money to you so your husband can stop going blind, then you are being pretty mean to God.

(As I understand it.)"

The numbers make it sound easy, that's only a buck a follower! And people love her stuff! I sent $2 this morning, honestly more out of appreciation for her work than sympathy. But the conventional wisdom is that the sort of conversion of internet affection into cash, even for a good cause, is really difficult.

Lockwood was able to raise the money within twelve hours. Awesome.

For her (and her husband's) thoughts during the process visit her blog.

Originally Published: May 16th, 2012