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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Poetry magazine that survived a windfall's Jim Romenesko tells the very odd story of the magazine that was endowed with a fortune.

Back in 2002, the unimaginatively titled Poetry magazine received $100 million from Ruth Lilly, an aspiring poetess whose submissions had been regularly rejected by the journal.  The news of the windfall was greeted with general shock. 

"It's like leaving a fortune to your goldfish," said one poet.

At the time, the magazine had a modest circulation of 10,000 and an annual budget of $700,000.  Today, its circulation is a relatively modest 26,000 . . . and its budget is over $6 million.

Of this, as Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune reports, $1.2 million is spent on its website, and $1.3 million pays for administration, including the salaries of 20 staff.  A new home for the magazine has been built, which includes a 125-seat theater, and a library for its 35,000 poetry books.

Plus, a soundproof booth for recording podcasts. 

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Poetry has recently won the award for best literary magazine -- and a prize for best podcast.

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