Poetry Magazine is doing some difficult, necessary work

A letter from Poetry to its readers lays the situation bare: there will be no September issue (the first missed issue ever) so they can concentrate on “reckoning with the deep-seated white supremacy of our organization.” That’s a very hard decision-to-make/thing-to-say and a very responsible one. Good work and good luck, Poetry!

This September, Poetry is breaking from its legacy of continuous publication and will not print a monthly issue for the first time since its founding by Harriet Monroe in 1912.

Magazine staff made this decision to put people before production. We are acting in part out of necessity, and in majority out of respect to our community, poets, and staff. The manifold violence of our world demands more from us. The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine must be agents of antiracism to build a more loving, supportive, and inclusive community.

We cannot escape Poetry’s history, which we have exalted and continue to profit from. We are committed to understanding that history better in order to dismantle its structures and reparate the magazine’s debt to Black people, Indigenous people, other people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, disabled people, and other marginalized groups of people who have been exploited, sidelined, and tokenized in support of white dominant culture. This pause is a necessary part of Poetry magazine’s reckoning with the deep-seated white supremacy of our organization. 

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