Farmed Frame. David Wells. Photo by Katrin Talbot.
See WI Poetry News for more info.
We were simultaneously humbled and buoyed to learn earlier this season of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ vote to continue supporting Verse Wisconsin in our various endeavors. This continued financial gift means a very great deal to us, both from a business perspective and personally. And it got us thinking more about the nitty-gritty business side of things, and the very real benefits of partnerships.
No one gets into poetry publishing for the money. As you know, Verse Wisconsin has worked for the past two years to build the poetry community throughout the state, and beyond. To this end, we have managed to keep our subscriber base steady, while making sure that copies of Verse Wisconsin find their way to prisons, classrooms, festivals and conferences both around Wisconsin and further afield. For instance, we mailed 120 copies of the summer issue to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, to be given away at the Wisconsin booth. More copies made their way to Reedsburg, Wisconsin to participate in the Fermentation Festival’s “Farm Art DTour.” (See WI Poetry News for more info about this event.)
Though we fervently believe in sharing Verse Wisconsin at events such as these (and everything in between), it’s true that no one pays for these free copies, nor the postage involved in shipping them. That is why a gift such as the WFOP’s means so very much. It’s this support that allows us to continue sharing the work of so many poets, so widely.
This past year, the Wisconsin Poet Laureate’s funding was cut at the state level by Governor Scott Walker. For a while it was unclear what would happen to the position itself. Happily, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters offered itself as a new home. Wisconsin will continue to have a Poet Laureate for the foreseeable future. We encourage you to support the Poet Laureate fund, and our homepage has the link to follow to make a contribution. (Read the feature on Bruce Dethlefsen to learn more about the Academy and the Poet Laureate.)
The short story? Nobody’s got much money these days, and the arts often get depicted as an “extra,” easy to cut. We’re preaching to the choir when we say that there are many of us who know the value of a healthy, vibrant arts community. Economists can translate it into dollars, but we know the value of the arts goes beyond generated business, beyond attracting investments and workers and tourists. The arts encourage imagination, empathy, complex thinking. They take us out of our own mundane lives for a few minutes, an hour or an evening, restore something vital to our souls and remind us that we are, in the end, part of the larger picture, the infinitely vast fabric of life that has quilted this planet for millennia. Yup. That’s what your ten or fifteen dollar donation—to us, to the PL fund, to your local theater troupe—does. Thank you.
Thanks also to Barbara Colignon, Alice D'Alessio, Ramona Davis, Judy Kolosso, Marie Loeffler, Alice Pauser & CJ Muchhala for volunteer proofreading help with this print and online issue. Lingering errors are, of course, the responsibility of VW’s editors.