In November 2002 the Chicago Tribune reported that the influential Chicago-based Poetry magazine had received a bequest of more than $100 million from pharmaceutical heiress and amateur poet Ruth Lilly, making it at once the richest as well as the most famous literary organization in the United States. What happened in the decades before and in the frenzy immediately after this unparalleled gift is chronicled here by Poetry's former editorial heads Joseph Parisi and Stephen Young through the poignant, hilarious, and unvarnished correspondence between the magazine's editors and contributing poets.
"Parisi ... is incisive and peppery in his commentary accompanying the 500-plus letters from the past 40 years that he and coeditor Stephen Young judiciously selected from the magazine's invaluable archive. Poetry lovers will be thrilled with the many distinctive and distinguished poets and equally interesting editors represented here in letters candid, shrewd, funny, and venomous. Matched by Parisi's sage interpretations of such complex subjects as the effect on poetry of the Vietnam War and the great migration of poets to the academy, Between the Lines is a uniquely intimate overview of the flourishing of contemporary American poetry."—Booklist