Thursday, March 17, 2011

All that's missing is the cigarette smoke!

From Media Industry Newsletter:

The most unexpected 2011 winner of the American Society of Magazine Editors' digital National Magazine Award on March 16 was Poetry. Here is a monthly launched in 1912 by Harriet Monroe (1860-1936), an aspiring poet who persuaded 100 Chicagoans to pledge $50 a year for five years to support her venture. They did, and Monroe and Christian Science Monitor founder (1908) Mary Baker Eddy stand out as U.S. media entrepreneurs who were not allowed to vote (19th amendment granting women's suffrage was ratified in 1920).

The 30,000-circulation Poetry has published continuously out of Chicago with financial support for the nonprofit Poetry Foundation coming from the estate of the late Ruth Lilly (1915-2009) a great-granddaughter of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly. This gave editor Christian Wiman the wherewithal to launch a podcast, and the give-and-take between him, senior editor Don Share, and poets published in the magazine is easy and fun listening.

The result was ASME's digital Ellie for podcasting. This is not only Poetry's first National Magazine Award in any discipline, but also its first nomination. The 1.000 batting average puts The New Yorker's .251 to shame (though TNY's 49 Ellies and 195 nominations are as unreachable as Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak), but listening to the Poetry podcast is a reminder of TNY's famous "salons" in the 1930s with founder (1925) Harold Ross and such writers as Dorothy Parker and James Thurber talking about their work.

Or, for that matter, a podcast of such Poetry-published greats as T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Ezra Pound. All were contemporaries of Monroe, and only the cigarette smoke would have been missing.

Congratulations to National Magazine Award winner Poetry.

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