The Academy of American Poets to Present Its Inaugural Leadership Awards During National Poetry Month

Andrews McMeel Publishing, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Eunice Panetta, and Sonia Sanchez to be Honored 

New York, NY (March 20, 2019)— On the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the Academy of American Poets, the organization will present its inaugural Leadership Awards to a publisher, partner, patron and poet at its annual Poetry & the Creative Mind gala at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall on April 24, 2019, during National Poetry Month. 

Andrews McMeel Publishing will be recognized for innovating poetry book publishing by identifying poetry's popularity on social media and translating it into print, expanding the genre to include an emerging field of young adult poetry that is popular and profound.

"Andrews McMeel Publishing is delighted to receive this distinguished honor from the Academy of American Poets. As the nation's premier publisher of poetry, we value their mission to share the work of contemporary poets and to advocate for poets and poetry around the world. We are thrilled by the burgeoning interest in this unparalleled art form, as the transformative language of poetry continues to move, resonate with, and empower millions of people of all ages and backgrounds," said Kirsty Melville, President and Publisher. 

"In the past five years, the readership of poetry has nearly doubled. That dramatic growth is in part due to the success of Andrews McMeel in reaching new readers. We're pleased to be able to recognize them, along with Civitella, Nicie Panetta, and Sonia Sanchez," said Michael Jacobs, Chairman of the Academy of American Poets. 

The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, provides a residency for the Academy's Walt Whitman Award-winning poet, an opportunitiy for the poet to create new work; explore fomer Academy Chancellor Mark Strand's library, which was donated to Civitella; and meet gifted artsts from multiple disciplines and countries. Civitella is located in a 15th century castle in the Umbrian region of Italy. 

Eunice "Nicie" Panetta, the former Chair of the Academy of American Poets Board of Directors, has ensured the organization's success for the past two decades with her generosity and leadership. This spring she is helping to oversee the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships, a new program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will award $1 million to poets across the U.S. serving in civic positions. She is the founder of Bird on the Wing Media, a podcast and digital media production start-up and the executive producer and co-host of "Fresh," a podcast series in development about the freshman class of the 116th Congress. 

Sonia Sanchez, a poet, playwright, and children's book author, has published more than a dozen poetry collections and was selected by the Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets as the recipient of this year's Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery in poetry. Her books include Morning Haiku (Beacon Press, 2010) and Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1999). Her other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. 

The Poetry & the Creative Mind gala event includes a reading of favorite poems by the Emmy Award-winning journalist Ann Curry; musician from the Magnetic Fields Sephin Merritt; James Beard Award-winning chef Daniel Rose; artist Toyin Ojih Odutola; actors Josh Charles and Gretchen Mol; 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. 

General admission tickets to the poetry reading-only are available here

Tickets to the poetry reading and VIP after-party, which will include the awards presentation, are available here

Funds raised at Poetry & the Creative Mind provide critical support for the Academy of American Poets' Education Program, which reaches 100,000 students each year and provides free weekly resources to more than 30,000 K-12 educators nationwide. 

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the nation's leading champion of poets, poetry, and the work of poetry organizations nationwide. Founded in 1934, the organization produces Poets.org, the world's largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the populer Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other award-winning resources for K-12 educators; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. In addition, the Academy of American Poets coordinates a national poetry coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.