Harriet Monroe & the Open Door

Thursday, Sep 14, 2023 – Jan 13, 2024

61 W. Superior St, Chicago, IL 60654

On view through Saturday, January 13, 2024

Harriet Monroe (1860–1936) was a poet, a critic, and the founding editor of Poetry magazine whose steadfast commitment to the art form and its creators altered the course of American literary history. 

Harriet Monroe & the Open Door maps the evolution of Monroe’s editorial philosophy, locating it within the cultures and structures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This exhibition includes original artwork by Lilli Carré alongside archival photographs, letters, and other documents from Monroe’s life.

Serving as Poetry’s editor for twenty-four years, Monroe remains Poetry’s longest tenured editor and the first and only woman editor in the magazine’s history. Her early establishment of the “Open Door Policy,” which advocated editorial openness to contemporary poems without allegiance to “any single class or school,” led to the publication of some of the most influential English-language poets of the modern era. Over a century later, Monroe’s vision of the Open Door is still the aspiration of Poetry, a project serving poets and readers that is continually evolving. 

This exhibition was organized by Meera Alagaraja, Zada Ballew, Melissa Bradshaw, Katherine Litwin, Liesl Olson, Srikanth Reddy, Fred Sasaki, Robert Eric Shoemaker, and Kelly Wisecup.

Image Credit: Sarah Joyce of Glitter Guts, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation