Posted on February 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The Poetry Foundation is in the public eye for not-so-good reasons once again.

Last year, the president and board chair resigned in response to an open letter criticizing their response to police violence after George Floyd's killing.

Now, the magazine that it publishes — Poetry — is facing backlash for including a convicted sex offender in an issue dedicated to the work of incarcerated people, former prisoners, and the relatives of prisoners.

The Guardian reports that a reader questioned why Kirk Nesset, who served time for possessing, receiving, and distributing child sexual abuse images, would be allowed to participate in the issue.

Magazine leadership acknowledged, in general, the effects of violence on its victims but said that guest editors are deliberately unaware of poets’ criminal histories while selecting submissions.

A petition is currently seeking the removal of Nesset’s poem.

Those interested in more debate on the topic should check out an essay in Slate arguing for leaving the issue as is. 

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Poetry, Scandal, The Guardian

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