Its financial footing secure after a series of deficits, the Academy of American Poets is marking its ninth National Poetry Month by launching an online listing of poetry events and activities that will promote and publicize poetry every day of the year.
Tree Swenson, executive director of the academy since 2002, said that after reporting deficits for five straight years, the organization will show a surplus in 2003; she also expects a surplus this year. Eliminating the deficit, she said, had been "extremely painful. We've had to cut programs and staff and moved our offices." But she was also bullish about National Poetry Month and told PW, "The poetry landscape has changed enormously over the last 30 years, and certainly over the last 10 years. National Poetry Month has had a lot to do with that. We've put posters in schools, worked with libraries and bookstores to put the focus on poetry. We're at a great point now. It's an exciting time."
The academy will continue to serve as a clearinghouse for National Poetry Month events through its Web site (www.poets.org), and the organization also launched the National Poetry Almanac on April 1. According to Charles Flowers, associate director of the academy, the almanac is an online event resource that will provide "365 days of poetry promotions—something for every day, from scholarly definitions to landmark destinations around the country and activities for kids." The almanac will feature a monthly theme and offer "all kinds of ways to integrate poetry into your life," Flowers said.