Big news in the ever-tumultuous world of poetry: Chicago’s storied Poetry Foundation saw its board leaders resign yesterday after an enormous campaign by American poets calling for positive change within the organization to better reflect the ethnic makeup of Chicago itself. I’m a big fan of Poetry and the last few years have really seen it be reinvigorated with a wider range of styles and poets than ever before, but it is truly past time for some POC presence among the leadership. Being on a NFP board is generally a thankless job, and a difficult one, if the org is underfunded and requires a working board to function. But the two dudes who resigned are named “Henry Bienen” and “Willard Bunn III”, which makes me feel they probably will be just fine. And frankly, getting a guy who feels it necessary to add “III” to the end of his name to resign from anything is a victory in and of itself.
The entirety of the Poetry Foundation release is here (and copied below), and there’s an article in the Tribune covering it.
The Board of Directors of the Poetry Foundation has accepted the resignation of Foundation President Henry Bienen with gratitude for his years of service; it is effective immediately. In addition, Willard Bunn III is stepping down as Board chair.