You Said It: VIDA: Women in Literary Arts

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Below, Robert Polito, president and CEO of The Poetry Foundation, shares his organization’s latest news with Make It Better Founder and Poetry Foundation board member Susan B. Noyes.


Dear Friends,

I write with some exhilaratingly good news for us all.

As many of you know, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts is a national research-driven organization whose mission is to increase critical attention to “transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture.” VIDA’s exemplary work “engages the general public in a better understanding of the literary landscape and the issues facing artists of both genders. VIDA has encouraged a more nuanced conversation about gender parity in the arts.”

I am pleased to report that just this morning VIDA: Women in Literary Arts announced that they will be honoring Don Share and Poetry magazine among the recipients of the first annual VIDA Awards, to be presented at the AWP conference in Minneapolis in April. As VIDA co-founders Cate Marvin and Erin Belieu wrote in their announcement letter to Don:

“The VIDA Executive Committee and Board of Directors is pleased to announce you’ve been chosen as one of the first annual winners of the VIDA Awards. These awards honor those who’ve contributed to American literature in meaningful ways annually, either through their publications, or through other remarkable contributions to our literary community.

We would love the chance to honor you at this year’s VIDA event at AWP Minneapolis. The event, which will be the premiere of a new season of Motionpoems short films curated by VIDA, will also include an awards presentation where you will be celebrated for your work and contributions to gender equality in American literary culture.”

This award to Don and the magazine is especially pleasing to me since, as you know, during the nearly twenty months it has been my pleasure to serve as President of the Poetry Foundation I have worked very closely with both senior and junior staff to ensure gender equality, diversity, and inclusiveness across the Foundation, whether internally among staff or in the various work we all do for poetry. This significant national validation of Don, his staff, and our collective attentiveness at the Poetry Foundation to gender equality and balance is immensely gratifying.

I am very proud of Don, the magazine staff, and everyone at the Poetry Foundation whose good work regarding gender balance and overall diversity is reflected in this major recognition. I think Harriet Monroe would also be very proud.

Please join me in congratulations.


Robert Polito
President and CEO
The Poetry Foundation