New York, NY (April 23, 2020)— The Academy of American Poets is honored to present Shelter In Poems: A Virtual Reading on Thursday, April 30, at 7:30 pm EDT, the organization’s first-ever virtual poetry reading, inspired by the overwhelming number of people turning to poetry for comfort during the current global crisis. Since launching its Shelter in Poems initiative over a month ago, which invites the public to share poems that give hope or courage at this time, the organization has seen a dramatic increase in readership on and engagement with poems across social media. To extend this virtual community offered by its Shelter in Poems initiative, the Academy has organized a free, special performance of uplifting poems presented by:

Elizabeth AlexanderPresident of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and award–winning poet
Sam Beam, singer–songwriter of Iron & Wine
Richard Blanco, fifth U.S. presidential inaugural poet and author
Julia Bullock, Grammy Award–nominated soprano 
Marilyn Chin, award–winning poet and author
Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate
Patrick Gaspard, President of the Open Society Foundations and former Ambassador to South Africa
Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate
Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate
Juan Felipe Herrera, former U.S. Poet Laureate
Dulé Hill, “The West Wing” actor and tap dancer 
Edward Hirsch, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning poet and national bestselling author
Kevin Kwan, author of “Crazy Rich Asians” 
Stephin Merritt, songwriter and lead singer of The Magnetic Fields
Maulik Pancholy, “30 Rock” actor and author
Busy Philipps, award–winning actress from “Freaks and Geeks” 
Alison Pill, Tony Award–nominated actress
Dan Rather, Emmy Award–winning journalist
Alberto Ríos, National Book Award–nominated poet and author
Mustafa Shakir, “Luke Cage” actor and rapper
Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People's Poet Laureate
Amber Tamblyn, Golden–Globe nominated actress, poet, and author
Natasha Tretheweyformer U.S. Poet Laureate
and other special guests.

The event will raise critical funds to support the free programs and publications produced by the Academy of American Poets, including, Poem-a-Day, Teach This Poem, and more, which serve more than 30 million readers each year.

As National Poetry Month comes to a close, many will have weathered a month of solitude as an act of solidarity. During these weeks, poetry has offered a sense of connection, in spite of the physical distances. In this spirit, the Academy looks forward to sharing an evening of poetry with you.

RSVP for Shelter in Poems: a Virtual Reading.

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with members in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including its Teach This Poem series; distributes the American Poets Prizes program; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture. This year, through its prize program, the organization has awarded more funds to individual poets than any other organization, giving a total of $1,250,000 to poets at various stages of their careers. In addition, the Academy is part of Artist Relief, a national, multidisciplinary coalition of seven arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations working to provide funding to the country’s individual artists and writers who are impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.