which poetry press should I help?

There are fifteen hundred non-profit calls on every dollar in everyone’s purse, and a donor’s problem is often simply deciding where to bestow every ear-marked dollar. When it comes to general charitable giving, I annually set aside a specific portion of my income for specific charities that focus on areas of interest to me and have a demonstrated record of responsibly using donations.

Sites like the Combined Federal Campaign, which collect and provide standardized information on hundreds of charities, are useful on this latter point. CFC, for example, “calculates and publishes participating charities’ percentage of administrative and fundraising expenses (AFR) and advises donors that an AFR in excess of 35% is considered high by many in the philanthropic community” (I see that the charity I am supporting this year has a 2.1% AFR). There are also sites like the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator. But none of these sites seem to have poetry-press-specific searches.

I’m afraid I’m demonstrating terrifying ignorance by even asking, but are there comparable sites with such information about poetry presses? Or does one have to seek such information directly from the press? I am all for supporting poetry presses – particularly in these very difficult times – and I’d like to contribute regularly to at least one or two, but I admit a bias in favor of presses that can demonstrate to my earnest control-freaky self effective and responsible use of donor funds. Any pointers in this regard greatly appreciated.

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6 thoughts on “which poetry press should I help?

  1. Rachel Dacus says:

    Excellent question. Sites like Just Give (http://www.justgive.org/) focus on arts education but exclude publishing. Many foundations take the same attitude — they’ll support the distribution of poetry once it’s published, say in schools or senior centers, but not the publication of it. As a fundraiser, I’m always on the lookout for sources of charitable support for poetry publishing. I’ll share whatever I find, but outside of NEA grants to presses, organizational support is rare. Thus, the need for contests.

  2. Dave Bonta says:

    Years ago when I used to enter lots of poetry manuscript contests, I used to tell myself it was all really just a form of charitable giving.

  3. Paul says:

    Buying poetry as an act of charity, hmm that’s interesting. You could try reading a few poetry blogs, clicking a few links on blogrolls, reading the poet’s blog, deciding if you like their style and making the decision on what to buy that way. Buy to help the poet and cos you like their stuff rather than as act of charity to the publisher, maybe?

  4. Many thanks, Rachel, Dave and Paul. I don’t find this an easy issue to work through. Just got a longer response which I will post separately.

  5. [...] 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm (poetry presses) As a follow-up to this post (in which I wonder neurotically if there are any online sources of information [...]

  6. Gail White says:

    I highly recommend at least a small donation to the Light Verse Quarterly Foundation (www.lightquarterly.com). Your contribution is tax deductable and helps the good cause of keeping light verse alive.

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