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The Poetry Foundation

We can trace the roots of our organization back a century into the history of Chicago, to the origins of Poetry magazine and to its founder Harriet Monroe. It is her vision that informs the work we do every day. But there is also a second woman—really a second founder—whose philanthropy has made everything the Foundation does possible. Ruth Lilly, in bestowing on poetry a significant portion of her personal wealth, ensured that Harriet Monroe’s desire to celebrate and discover the best poetry will continue long into the magazine’s second century. The Foundation, whose mission commits it to a more vigorous presence for poetry in our culture, has pursued this through a family of programs, all realized with Ms. Lilly’s generous gift. Harriet Monroe and Ruth Lilly were two women of the Midwest for whom poetry was a passion central to life itself. We celebrate their lasting gifts every day and share them with you through our work.
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