New School News

Jennifer Benka, MFA ’07, to Lead Academy of American Poets


“Poetry is a […] democratic exercise. A poem is just a collection of text; ‘democracy’ is an abstract concept…[to] understand we must participate.”

Taken from an interview excerpt from America: Now and Here, New School alum and accomplished poet Jennifer Benka capitalizes on the unique and episodic journey poetry has had alongside the development of America.  Monday’s announcement naming Benka as the new Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets, then, is a major milestone in her own journey.

Shortly after completing her MFA in Creative Writing and Poetry at The New School in 2007, Benka acted as Managing Director for literary magazine Poets and Writers before transitioning to San Fransciso, where she took on the role of National Director of Development and Marketing for 826 National, a community development organization. Benka will return to New York to assume her new title on July 16th.

Of the selection of Benka for the coveted position, Academy Board Chairman Eunice J. Panetta commented, “In Jennifer Benka, we have found a leader with just the right combination of skills and experience to guide us in our next chapter of growth. We believe Jen’s commitment to nonprofit excellence and her lifelong devotion to poetry will benefit the great American family of poetry-lovers for years to come.”

In addition to her collections of poetry—Pinko and A Box of Longing with Fifty Drawers, Benka’s work has been featured in many publications and contemporary collections. 

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