Poetry & the Creative Mind 2021

Celebrating 25 years of National Poetry Month

On April 29, 2021, the Academy of American Poets hosted the 18th annual Poetry & the Creative Mind gala, presented virtually for the first time. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month—an annual occasion launched by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate poetry’s important place in our culture and its impact on the lives of readers. The financial support we received that evening continues to help the Academy publish poems, champion poets, and supply educators with free resources and activities that enable them to share poetry with their students.


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Opening Remarks

Elizabeth Alexander

Tending” by Elizabeth Alexander
My Father is a Retired Magician” by Ntozake Shange


Honored Readers

Lauren Ambrose

One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop
A Fixed Idea” by Amy Lowell

Sandra Oh

The Future is an Animal” by Tina Chang

Samin Nosrat

Eating the Bones” by Ellen Bass
My California” by Lee Herrick
Knoxville, Tennessee” by Nikki Giovanni

John Darnielle

White Sands” by Arthur Sze

Delroy Lindo

Poetry” by Claude McKay
Crossing” by Jericho Brown


A brief look at the 25 years of National Poetry Month and the Academy of American Poets featuring Joy Harjo and Richard Blanco.


Terrance Hayes

Woolworth” by Terrance Hayes
Cassette County” by David Berman

Jason Reynolds

It Is Maybe Time to Admit That Michael Jordan Definitely Pushed Off,” by Hanif Abdurraqib.

Sarah Sze

Why I Am Not a Painter” by Frank O’Hara
Because I could not stop for Death (479)” by Emily Dickinson.


Board Chairman Michael Jacobs presents the 2021 Academy of American Poets Leadership Award to Jonathan Galassi, in recognition of his important role in launching National Poetry Month, and for contributions to poetry in the field of publishing.


Regina King

Eve Remembering” by Toni Morrison.

Meryl Streep, Honorary Co-Chair

Poetry” by Marianne Moore
To a Magazine” by Mary Ruefle
Take the I Out” by Sharon Olds.


Read and share the full anthology of poems featured in the reading. To share this anthology, click “options” and scroll down to the social icons near the bottom.