New York—On Tuesday, April 5, the Empire State Building will honor the Academy of American Poets with a special blue-and-white lighting to mark the 10th annual National Poetry Month, the Academy's signature program. The Academy established National Poetry Month in 1996; the program has since become the largest literary celebration in the world.
The Academy's Executive Director, Tree Swenson, said, "We are so honored that the Empire State Building, a National Historic Landmark, will shine in honor of the Academy of American Poets on April 5. Over the past 70 years, the Academy has made significant contributions to the cultural landscape of New York City, and we are so excited to be a part of the greatest skyline on earth for this one night."
On May 1, 1931, President Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C., officially opening and turning on the Empire State Building's lights. In November 1932, the first light shined atop the Empire State Building; it was a searchlight beacon which told people for 50 miles that Franklin D. Roosevelt has been elected president of the United States.
The Empire State Building receives nearly 1,000 lighting requests each year. This is the second year that the Empire State Building has honored the Academy with a special lighting; last year's lighting marked the Academy's 70th anniversary. An Empire State Building spokesperson said she does not recall a special lighting for any other literary arts organizations during her 20 years working there.
April 5 is also the date of the Academy's third annual benefit, Poetry & The Creative Mind, which will feature great American poems read by Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Maya Lin, Minnie Driver, Tony Kushner, Suzan-Lori Parks, Dan Rather, Agnes Gund, Frank Rich, Diane von Furstenberg, and Sam Waterston. Poetry & The Creative Mind will take place at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, at 6:30 p.m.
The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For more information on the Academy and its programs, visit www.poets.org.