In a break from our usual any-lit-goes approach, Benka’s paired all her art selects with poetry collections. As always, the pairings are presented without comment, so any sort of interplay or symmetry scintillates of its own accord. And they will absolutely get your mind going. Benka has over 20 years working in the literary world, leads the organization behind Poets.org and National Poetry Month, and is a published poet and author herself—which means her poetry picks aren’t just exceptional. They double as an expert-recommended reading list. We’ve linked them all up on our Bookshop page for easy access. Read on below! — Team 20x200
I'm happy to share some personal picks that showcase a selection of poets from poetry's past and present, and an aesthetic range. The artworks I selected evoked for me a sense of the poet's body of work or the specific collection I've identified. I hope folks might take an opportunity this April to buy poets' books in honor of the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month, an occasion launched by the Academy of American Poets, where I'm fortunate to spend my days. Learn more about our work championing poetry and poets at Poets.org. — Jen Benka
The 411 on Jen Benka
Jen Benka has worked in support of literary arts and culture for more than 20 years. Currently, Jen serves as the President & Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets, the nation's leading champion of poets and poetry. The organization produces Poets.org and National Poetry Month, both of which turn 25 this year; offers Teach This Poem, a free lesson plan series for K-12 teachers; awards the Poets Laureate Fellowships and other prizes; and publishes Poem-a-Day. Jen is the author of two collections of poetry and several essays and opinion pieces about the art form.