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Posts Tagged ‘Academy of American Poets’

The World of Tomorrow

May 1, 2013 | by


On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows. You’re probably familiar with the fair’s iconic deco aesthetic and modern marvels, but did you know there was poetry, too? The Academy of American Poets sponsored a contest to find the Official Poem of the New York World’s Fair, with contestants encouraged to write on the theme “The World of Tomorrow.” The prize was $1,000; the judges were poets William Rose Benét, Louis Untermeyer, and, oddly, Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

The winner was Pearl Levison and “World of Tomorrow.” (Of the five runners-up, three are also called “The World of Tomorrow.” One is titled “Tomorrow, America,” while Rosalie Moore opted for the economical “Tomorrow.”) A New York Times article from May of 1939 describes Levison as “a 23-year-old poet who has lived all her life in this city,” while the Daily News specifies that the winner hails from “the arty precincts of MacDougal Alley” in Greenwich Village. 

The poem (which is ten pages long) may be found here

(And no, as close readers will have noticed, the woman pictured is not the poet but “showgirl” Lois De Fee, engaging in “a nudity display” of archery, wrestling, running, and boxing.)



50 Shades of Wednesday

June 13, 2012 | by

  • Familiar-looking cover art.
  • Bret Easton Ellis wants you to know he is not joking about his desire to adapt 50 Shades of Grey for the screen.
  • (Someone’s already called dibs on lingerie.)
  • How said screenplay might read.
  • Speaking of NSFW: Can you, like Martin Amis, tell which sex wrote which sex scene?
  • Jennifer Benka is the new executive director of the Academy of American Poets.
  • A Ray Bradbury Museum? Maybe ...
  • Speaking of, childhood homes of twenty famous authors.


    The Poet’s Poker

    October 27, 2011 | by

    Photograph by Tiago Daniel.

    For Rita Dove, it was an unusual Saturday. It began ordinarily enough: Dove had spent the afternoon at the Academy of American Poets, where she is one of fifteen “chancellors.” By 8 P.M., though, the day had taken a strange turn, and Dove, who is fifty-nine, found herself in the basement of the Chinatown Brasserie, sitting in a recessed booth illumined by a red lantern, looking out over five poker tables ringed with players who had each paid $1,500 just for the privilege to sit there.

    “I’m terrified of those tables,” she said. Even so, she added, referring to poets, “We’re supposed to be open to new experiences, so here I am.”

    She was by no means the only noteworthy author present. At one table sat the novelist Walter Kirn; at another, the comedian, writer, art collector, and banjoist Steve Martin; at a third, the novelist Amy Tan, the evening’s host. Her invitation to the poker tournament had begun, “This may be one of the most unusual dinner invitations you’ll ever receive.” Read More »