Poetry & the Creative Mind 2011

On April 27, 2011, the Academy of American Poets held its 9th annual benefit, Poetry & The Creative Mind, at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Noted actors, musicians, writers, and visual artists participated in this extraordinary evening celebrating the role of contemporary poetry in American culture. Poetry & the Creative Mind celebrates National Poetry Month, established by the Academy in 1996 and now the largest literary celebration in the world.

Our special guest readers were Alec Baldwin, Dan Barber, Adrien Brody, Michael Cunningham, Jesse Eisenberg, Caroline Kennedy, Liev Schreiber, Patti Smith, and Cassandra Wilson. Chip Kidd served as master of ceremonies. They read work by poets including Elizabeth BishopAllen GinsbergRobert HassLangston HughesFrank O'Hara, among others.

With the generous support of friends and donors, Poetry & the Creative Mind raised $150,000 for the Academy and National Poetry Month activities.

Program

Opening Remarks 
Chip Kidd, Master of Ceremonies

Caroline Kennedy
Elizabeth Bishop, Letter to New York
Elizabeth Bishop, One Art

Jesse Eisenberg
Delmore Schwartz, The Ballad of the Children of the Czar 
Delmore Schwartz, The Heavy Bear Who Goes with Me

Dan Barber
Robert Hass, Meditation at Lagunitas

Michael Cunningham
Marie Howe, Annunciation
Frank O'HaraPoem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]

Cassandra Wilson
Langston Hughes, In Time of Silver Rain
Nikky Finney, Left

Adrien Brody
Charles Bukowski, the proud thin dying
Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.), The Ten Crack Commandments

Liev Schreiber
Joseph Brodsky, A Song
Charles Simic, My Beloved
William ShakespeareSonnet 130

Patti Smith
Walt WhitmanI Hear America Singing
Arthur Rimbaud, Eternity
   translated by Louise Varese
Allen GinsbergFootnote to Howl

Alec Baldwin
Enomoto Seifu-jo, Everyone is asleep,
   translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Edgar Allen PoeAnnabel Lee

Closing Remarks
Tree Swenson, Executive Director, Academy of American Poets