Celebrity Volcano Slam Poetry!

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Photo: Arni Saeberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last night at Lincoln Center, literate celebs like Meryl Streep, Sting, and Gabriel Byrne regaled an audience by reading poems at "Poetry & the Creative Mind,” the eighth annual benefit for the Academy of American Poets. We caught up with Sting backstage and asked him to freestyle a poem about the volcano in Iceland that brought air traffic to a halt in Europe. He didn’t miss a beat:

Ash, ash
No cash
Less trash
Where’s my wife?

Turns out, wife Trudie Styer wasn’t standing so close to him — she’s stranded in London. “I’m in a lovely place and so is she, but we’re not together,” he said in between bites of pineapple. “That was the meaning of my poem — my rather terrible poem. It’s interesting that Mother Nature would throw something up to show us we’re not in charge.” But Sting’s keeping his cool (must be all that yoga). He says people should be “philosophical” about travel setbacks. “I was once stranded in a town in Japan called Fukuoka,” he said with a laugh. “You know that town? It’s aptly named.” He came down with a nasty bug and couldn’t leave his hotel for a month: “I vowed I would never come back. A year later I was back performing.”

But Sting wasn't the only celebrity in attendance we forced to improvise poems about the volcano. Here are the rest!

Two years of ash
And not a bird in the sky
Only the ones
that you can eat inside
Matt Dillon

Who could have predicted you
White cloud of ash
Full of beauty and of terror
A reminder to us
That we do not own
the universe surrounding us
Gabriel Byrne

Grim and dark
The ash cloud
So many stranded
Boats in the harbor
Cloud settles
Send in the Navy
—Rosanne Cash

Volcano
No
Julian Schnabel