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As a child, Sandra Cisneros read voraciously, taking in “the language of books and writing and magic and mystery.” It was only much later, while attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, that Cisneros realized that her own language of working-class Mexican Americans was nowhere to be found within...
Around 1802, poet William Wordsworth penned a sonnet with the opening line, "The world is too much with us; late and soon...." Wordsworth was basically bewailing what he saw as the noise of the world, by way of materialism and industrialization, which was rupturing human connection with the peace...
“Where is the Latino Cave Canem?” This is the question that brought Deborah Paredez, Celeste Mendoza, Norma E. Cantu, Pablo Martinez, and Carmen Tafolla together in 2009. Shortly after, CantoMundo was born. The first organization of its kind to specifically cater to Latino poets, CantoMundo’s...
Life is full of big questions--What does it mean to love? How do we develop a sense of self worth? What happens when we die?-- and even bigger emotions. And the older we get, the more we start to understand just how much we don't actually know. Perhaps our first inkling of this aspect of the human...
When beloved artists pass away they leave behind a legacy of change. Those of us moved by the artists’ work are changed. Those of us who grow wiser from their teachings, richer from their ideas, more empathetic because of their renderings, and more loving because they showed us beauty when we...
Just a few more weeks before our newest National Endowment for the Arts Big Read programs will kick off around the nation. Until then, why not get excited by digging into a few of our recent podcasts with Big Read authors? Enjoy! Adrian Matejka “How do you embody someone with such a complex and...
Founded in 1991, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop provides a literary home for writers of the Asian diaspora. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the range of Workshop programs include two fellowship programs, in-school arts education for New York City high school students, a...
"The greatest gift is not being afraid to question." — Ruby Dee Ruby Dee was an award-winning actress, Civil Rights activist, poet, and playwright. In 1995 she received the National Medal of Arts (with her husband Ossie Davis). Listen to her inspiring words on the human spirit—recorded as part of...
When poet Hadara Bar-Nadav —whose most recent collection is The New Nudity —received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in 2017, she said, “The NEA fellowship is a recognition that the arts are absolutely vital. It reminded me that there is a way to ask difficult questions,...
"We have become even more aware this year of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy, and comfort to our lives. These 84 organizations leading NEA Big Reads will provide opportunities for deep discussion and ways to help us better understand one...

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