poetry and prozac

An heiress who – and much of the coverage missed this (I think) very salient point – was declared mentally incompetent in 1981, has donated $100m to a tiny Chicago poetry magazine called (imaginatively) Poetry Magazine. The fallout is already hilarious: Zyzzyva editor Howard Junker with his nose very decidedly out of joint in the letters pages of the New York Times, and so forth.

It is, as critics accuse, very bad philanthropy, yet the possibilities are tantalizing! Will poets become wildly rich and fawned-over celebrities, as in Henry Fool? Will the thirty thousand surplus screenwriters of Los Angeles up stakes and move to Windy City to try their hands at haiku? Will Charlie Kaufman favour us with a villanelle?

Did I mention she’s one of the heirs to the Lilly fortune, as in Prozac? How can you not love modern America when it just transcends parody?

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