I take the liberty of forwarding this post by Ian Keenan. It concerns John Barr, the President of the Poetry Foundation. It appeared today at Montevidayo blog. It might give some “context” for comprehending why the Poetry Foundation Board is so loose and fast about trying to arrest and send to prison young poets who peacefully protest in the PF’s $21.5 million sanctum.
Some info on Barr:
1. “The Illinois State’s Attorney is looking into allegations of poor “fiscal practices, conflict of interest, nepotism and playing fast and loose with the rules of charitable organizations” (concerning the Poetry Foundation)
2. “Penny Barr, wife of John Barr, who admits she is “not versed in poetry,” was paid $23,000 by the Foundation for setting up a poetry contest.”
3. “The Poetry Foundation also plans to build a $25 million mansion in the Gold Coast with accommodations for visiting poets of its choice and a stage to host readings on. An ex-trustee accused the Foundation of acting like a “private club” and using Ruth Lilly’s money for “personal gratification.”
4. The company Barr founded, Dynergy, frequently likened in business columns to Enron, paid out a $3 million fine for accounting fraud (after Barr left as an executive) and a US Attorney said in a letter “We have become increasingly concerned that Dynegy’s `cooperation’ is more apparent than real.”
5. John Barr donated the maximum to Rudolph Giuliani in early 2007, a month after Giuliani declared his candidacy. Giuliani’s accomplishments as mayor of NYC including a smear campaign against contemporary artists and the Brooklyn Museum that displayed them, attempting to defund the institution. Soon after Barr’s donation, Giuliani named as his foreign policy adviser Norman Podhoretz right after he published the book World War III which advocated a global war, who in a previous life as a literary editor engaged in critical attacks against Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
6. Barr’s current company is lobbying foreign governments, mostly Spanish speaking countries in the hemisphere, to privatize their natural resources on behalf of his clients.
7. Robert Pinsky takes credit for selecting Barr for his position.