Why so utterly silent, Poetry Foundation?

The petition put out by speCt books, pleading with you to turn just a small amount of your $250 million (and we know it’s much more) toward helping poets and presses and bookstores in need during this crisis is now approaching 1000 signatures. The list of signatories will be released in the next couple of days.

Is your arrogance perchance so colossal you don’t feel this collective concern even merits an acknowledgment?

Some people have begun to wonder if the priorities of your well-heeled Board are not so much centered on the living needs of people in the poetry community as they are on the interests of your obscenely bloated portfolio.

Here is a specific suggestion. The image below pertains to Go Fund Me efforts by 77 independent bookstores, many of them legendary, most of them with generous stocks of poetry. All of them in dire need due to the COVID crisis; all of them in immediate danger of closing forever.

You could make a huge difference by giving each shop $5,000. That would be a total of $385,000, an almost token sum, given your account, which is doing quite well in past months, with the nice rocket-spike for Eli Lily stock. Or you could just pick out, say, 50 poetry bookstores and presses and give them each $6,000, or so. It would barely put a dent in your account, but it would mean the world to those receiving the helping hand.

The poetry field would unanimously applaud you for it.

Step up now. Every day counts. Even Steve Mnuchin looks more compassionate than the Poetry Foundation does these days.

–Dispatches