Poetry & the Creative Mind 2012

On April 5, 2012, the Academy of American Poets held its 10th 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 Tom Brokaw, Claire Danes, John Wesley Harding, Terrence Howard, Bill Keller, Colum McCann, Dianne Reeves, Brooke Shields, and Meryl Streep. Chip Kidd served as master of ceremonies. They read work by poets including E. E. CummingsNikky FinneyMuriel Rukeyser, and Walt Whitman, among others.


Opening Remarks 
Chip Kidd, Master of Ceremonies
Tree Swenson, Outgoing Executive Director
(read "Horses at Midnight Without a Moon" by Jack Gilbert)

Colum McCann
Robert FrostThe Road Not Taken
Muriel Rukeyser, Then I Saw What the 
   Calling Was
Amy Clampitt, Blueberrying in August
Wendell Berry, A Meeting
Nikky Finney, I Have Been Somewhere

Claire Danes
E. E. Cummings, if up's the word
Frank O'Hara, Having a Coke with You

John Wesley Harding
Thomas WyattThey Flee from Me
John Whitworth, The Examiners

Terrence Howard
Stanley KunitzThe Layers
Rod McKuen, Gifts from the Sea

Brooke Shields
Robert GravesThe Spoilsport
Billy Collins, Nostalgia
Howard Nemerov, To David, About 
   His Education

Bill Keller
Brad Leithauser, Half Home
Kay Ryan, Things Shouldn't Be So Hard
Frederick Seidel, The Pierre Hotel, 
   New York, 1946
Stephen Dunn, Our Parents

Dianne Reeves
Stanley KunitzThe Portrait
Kenneth Koch, Permanently
Lucille Cliftonhomage to my hips
Gwendolyn Brooks, Queen of the Blues

Tom Brokaw
Walt WhitmanI Hear America Singing
Donald Hall, Her Garden
James Welch, In My Lifetime
David Allan Evans, The Bull Rider's Advice

Meryl Streep
W. H. AudenAs I Walked Out One Evening
Elizabeth BishopAt the Fishhouses