Each year during National Poetry Month in April, the Academy of American Poets, a partner of Civitella’s, presents a gala celebration of poetry’s important place in our culture, and its impact on the lives of readers and artists working in other disciplines. The event—Poetry & the Creative Mind— takes place at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and features leading and legendary actors, dancers, artists, musicians, and public figures on one stage sharing their favorite poems.

Last Wednesday, April 24th, the Academy of American Poets celebrated their 85th year of existence at their 17th annual gala. The event included readings of favorite poems by the Emmy Award-winning journalist Ann Curry; musician from the Magnetic Fields Stephin Merritt; James Beard Award-winning chef Daniel Rose; artist Toyin Ojih Odutola; actors Ellen Burstyn and Josh Charles; philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr.; Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall; Tony Award-winning dancer Savion Glover; Pulitzer Prize-nominated memoirist, poet, and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Elizabeth Alexander; and other special guests.

The 2019 VIP after-party included the presentation of the inaugural Academy of American Poets Leadership Awards to Andrews McMeel Publishing, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Eunice Panetta, and Sonia Sanchez.