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Vibrant Verse

Chicago's literary reputation was built not only on the strength of writers like Saul Bellow but by the prominence of magazines like Poetry.

Started in 1912 by Harriet Monroe as a way to spur poets to catch up to the modernity around them, Poetry Magazine helped break American verse away from its old conventions. And like the Chicago architects who were then proving that in this city the sky's the limit, Monroe and her poets revolutionized the art form.

Through the good sense of Monroe and later editors, the magazine played an active role in bringing to prominence poetic innovators like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sylvia Plath. The magazine also showed poets that there was money to be made in their craft, filling their pockets in exchange for contributions. That is, whenever the magazine wasn't going through hard times itself.

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See and hear poetry in a different light at the Musicality of Poetry Festival.

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Drop by the offices of Poetry and see how the magazine has changed over the years while staying true to its core mission: publishing good poetry.

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Listen as Joseph Parisi, former Poetry Magazine editor, reads some of the oftentimes amusing letters sent to Monroe from "starving artists" pleading for – what else? – money.

 

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Poetry/Lit. Podcast

 

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An early promotional poster for Poetry Magazine.

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Harriet Monroe at work in the offices of the magazine. Photo courtesy of Poetry Magazine.

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The first issue of Poetry Magazine.

 

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