If you’re a famous chef-restaurateur, such as Daniel Rose, you might offer a few lines about food, Dorianne Laux’s “A Short History of the Apple.” For the dancer-choreographer Savion Glover, there’s Allison Joseph’s tribute to a standby of 1970s television, “Soul Train.” And if you’re former “Today” show correspondent Ann Curry, who knows well the changing fortunes of public life, you find special delight in Maya Angelou’s anthem “Still I Rise”:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Rose, Glover and Curry were among the readers, or “honorary poets,” as host (and poet) Elizabeth Alexander called them Wednesday night at the 17th annual “Poetry & the Creative Mind” benefit. Presented by the Academy of American Poets, the event was staged before an appreciative audience at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. As in previous years, “Poetry & the Creative Mind” brought in prominent guests from a wide variety of careers, united by a willingness to read a few favorite poems before some 2,000 people or more. Meryl Streep, Tina Fey and Gloria Steinem have been among the performers at the academy benefit.