Art Works Blog

Notable Quotable: 2016 National Book Festival edition

Just one more day until literature-apalooza comes to Washington, DC--or as it's more commonly known, the Library of Congress National Book Festival. We're excited to be festival partners once again, hosting the NEA Poetry and Prose Stage with the writers listed below, many of them NEA Literature Fellows, and one--the poet A.B. Spellman--a former staff member so beloved that we named our NEA Jazz Masters award for advocacy after him.

We're kicking things off at 10am with recitations by three Poetry Out Loud Champs--Marta Palombo of Georgia, Neely Seams of West Virginia, and Ahkei Togun of Virginia, the reigning Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Check out the schedule for the rest of the day here, and make sure to save room in your evening for the National Book Festival Youth Poetry Slam, presented in partnership with the Library and Split This Rock. We're also live-tweeting from the Poetry and Prose Stage all day. Follow us on @NEAarts or #NatBookFest.

To get things started a little early, here's a round-up of quotes of the writers we're featuring tomorrow. Click on the author name to reach the original interview. Have a favorite quote from any of our authors? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

“I want to write short stories even when I don’t like writing them. I don’t actually like writing. But I want (and wanted) to write short stories enough that it seemed worth doing despite how awful and difficult and uncomfortable it can be, figuring out how to make a short story work.” — Kelly Link 

“[E]very poet or painter whom I know well enough to call friend wishes that he or she was a jazz musician.” — A.B. Spellman 

“Everybody has a story about creation, so we therefore are part of the need to create. I believe everyone embodies that need to create, in some way or the other, but some of us take it on at a larger level.” — Joy Harjo 

“‘Inspiration,’ in my experience, is a reward for persistent work when one is not in the least inspired.” —  Marilyn Hacker 

“Books are wonderful things, but I think sometimes writers and readers ascribe to them too much power. They are powerful. They can change your life. But to do so, they require participation and action on the part of the reader.” — Kaitlyn Greening 

“[L]aughter is the human condition much more than sorrow and tears and suffering. Even at the worst possible time of your life, people are funny. And that's what gives you hope.” — Luis Alberto Urrea 

“I see so many poems end in pretty, but weak observation. The poem has to go somewhere; otherwise, it is just decoration on an already bright world.” — Sandra Beasley 

“To me, writing fiction always involves a slightly precarious balance between that which is planned and that which is mysterious. One wants, one needs, both.” — Michael Cunningham 


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