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William Gordon Drenttel, 1953-2013

By John Barr
William Gordon Drenttel

William Gordon Drenttel, 1953-2013

The Poetry Foundation lost a friend and one of its creators when Bill Drenttel passed away just before Christmas. From the Foundation’s earliest days, Bill sat at our table and helped turn the unformed potential of the Lilly gift into programs with names, a strategic plan, a blueprint for an organization yet to be created.

In the years of implementation that followed Bill remained equally important. As outside contractor he took on the work of building our first website. As graphic designer he created the Foundation logo, our stationery and our family of typefaces. He designed and had struck the medals we use in our prizes. And he contributed over 100 covers to Poetry magazine.

Bill fit easily into no category. He was more than an outside consultant, and we eventually gave him a title, Creative Director, to recognize what he did for the Foundation. But that was like putting Ariel into a bottle. I will remember Bill as the invaluable outrider to any organization lucky enough to engage his interest—and there were many. When Bill was present outcomes were different—and better.

—John Barr, President of the Poetry Foundation 2003-2013

Posted in Poetry News on Monday, December 30th, 2013 by John Barr.