In November 2002 the Chicago Tribune broke the astonishing story that Chicago-based Poetry magazine had received a bequest of more than $100 million from the amateur poet and pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly, making it at once the richest as well as the most famous literary organization in the United States. What happened before and after this remarkable gift is now revealed in Between the Lines, edited by Poetry's longtime editor Joseph Parisi and its former senior editor Stephen Young. It is a concluding episode in the book that follows on the editors' Dear Editor (2002), which chronicled Poetry's first fifty years through its poignant, hilarious, and brutally frank correspondence with its contributing poets. Dear Editor told the story of Poetry's central role in the Modernist movement and its rise to a position as the acknowledged "magazine of verse." Between the Lines carries the narrative through the second revolution in American poetry, set against the backdrop of the restive early sixties, the tumultuous era of the Vietnam War, and the social upheavals of the last four decades. Virtually all of the close to five hundred letters in the book have never been printed before.
In them, famous and aspiring authors tell Poetry's editors of their artistic aspirations, rivalries, problems and successes, unvarnished opinions, and reactions to events of the day, unfolding the improbable tale of how perennially impoverished Poetry survived to make literary-and financial-history. The book is abundantly illustrated with candid photographs, drawings, posters, programs, and clippings from newspapers and magazines.
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Joseph Parisi was chief editor of Poetry for twenty years; Stephen Young, former senior editor of Poetry, is program director of the Poetry Foundation. They have also edited The Poetry Anthology and Dear Editor: A History of Poetry in Letters: The First Fifty Years, 1912-1962, and Mr. Parisi has edited 100 Essential Modern Poems. Both live in Chicago.
Reading Between the Lines is so much fun it feels wrong. -- Kay Ryan, author of The Niagara River As exciting and tumultuous as the times in which the letters were written. -- Amy K. Weiss Library Journal Fascinating reading. California Bookwatch Reading Between the Lines is a lot like dipping into your older sister's diary-you feel vaguely guilty, but the entires are so compelling you quickly get over it...this book is a particularly good read. -- Beth Hester Virginian-Pilot These volumes present the formation of an enormously important strain of literary judgement in 20th-century American poetry. CHOICE A rich cultural history of the creative process. Grand Forks Herald Poetry lovers will be thrilled with the...distinctive...poets...represented here in letters candid, shrewd, funny, and venomous. -- Donna Seaman Booklist
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