Features

"Learning a poem by heart makes us participants in a uniquely human experience with pre-history origins. A poem learned by heart can circumvent the head, comfort the soul, distract demons, and provide entertainment for the restless." — Jan Seale, 1982 National Endowment for the Arts Creative...
Are you short on time but want to celebrate both Jazz Appreciation Month AND National Poetry Month? We can help with that! Click on the name of the poem to read the enire text. And don't forget to let us know what's your favorite jazz poem on the National Endowment for the Arts Facebook page ! "…...
Lucille Clifton (1926-2010) was a prolific poet, author of children’s literature, and educator. Born in Depew, New York, on June 27, 1936, Clifton was raised with a deep appreciation for the African and African-American arts. She published her first volume of poems, Good Times, in 1969 to critical...
It is a truth universally acknowledged that in the heart of every devoted writer lurks a devoted reader. And 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow Angela Flournoy —who garnered an avalanche of praise for her debut novel, The Turner House —is no exception. Flournoy very kindly...
NEA Big Read author Jeff VanderMeer spent his early years in the Fiji Islands where his father, an entomologist and research chemist, went to study rhinoceros beetles until he turned his attention to fire ants and moved the family to Gainesville, Florida. A lifelong birdwatcher, VanderMeer has...
Goldie Goldbloom—NEA Creative Writing Fellow and new NEA Big Read author—grew up in Western Australia. On her family farm in the country’s rural outback, her grandparents hosted Italian prisoners of war during World War II, which inspired Goldbloom to write her award-winning novel, The Paperbark...
"Just like moons and like suns, /With the certainty of tides,/ Just like hopes springing high,/ Still I’ll rise.” — Maya Angelou (from "Still I Rise" ) For Black History Month, revisit our interview with the filmmakers behind the Maya Angelou documentary , which takes its name from her poem, a...
At age 16, Reginald Dwayne Betts was tried and convicted as an adult for carjacking. Since his release at age 24, Betts has become an attorney, a doctoral candidate at Yale Law School, an award-winning poet, essayist, and memoirist, and an advocate for juvenile justice reform. His most recent...
“Don't worry about what a poem means,” says poet Joy Harjo. “Do you ask what a song means before you listen? Just listen.” Harjo’s book of selected poems, How We Became Human , is one of the recent additions to the NEA Big Read library , along with two other books of poetry: Citizen by Claudia...
In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer you a moment (well, six moments, actually) of reflection on gratitude. Click on the poem's title to read the full text. "Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh/ Of the wind in the pinewoods,/ At night give praise...

Pages