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Raising the Barr:
A Conversation With Poetry Foundation's John Barr
[US]:
A year ago Feburary, a poet, investment banker, entrepreneur, college professor and founder of a successful investment banking firm, John Barr, was named president of the Poetry Foundation. The Foundation was formed to handle a bequest of $100 million made to Poetry magazine from pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly, whose own poetry had been consistently rejected by Poetry. [...]

JB:The Foundation's budget for 2005 is approximately $4 million. It will increase in coming years to higher single-digit millions, as the money comes in from various trust funds. The important concept is that we are spending income, not principal, from the endowment. Unless we blow it, the Foundation should never run out of money. [...]

In collaboration with the Library of Congress, the Foundation will support American Life in Poetry, a new program inaugurated by Ted Kooser, the Poet Laureate, to make a weekly poetry column available, free of charge, to some 40,000 mid-sized and rural newspapers across the country. Separately, the Library of America will publish the first trade edition of poems by Samuel Menashe, the first recipient of our Neglected Masters award. Finally, we are very pleased to be coordinating with the NEA on the national program of recitation in the schools which I mentioned earlier. We look forward to more of these in the future.
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