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"I think that the reason why art stays alive is that the artist grows. I mean the body doesn't stay the same; the brain doesn't stay the same. Your art can't stay the same." -- Sonia Sanchez
Filmmakers Rita Coburn-Whack and Bob Hercules knew only one thing for sure about one another when they first met: they both deeply admired the writer and activist Maya Angelou. They were also puzzled by the same thing: Why hadn't anyone yet made a documentary about the icon whose work had...
In James Weldon Johnson's famous poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" —known colloquially as the black national anthem—the poet urges us to "Let our rejoicing rise/ High as the list’ning skies...." In the poems that follow poets lift their voices skyward in praise of notable figures in African-American...
"Hold fast to dreams/ For if dreams die/ Life is a broken-winged bird/ That cannot fly." — Langston Hughes "Cheap little rhymes/ A cheap little tune/ Are sometimes as dangerous/ As a sliver of the moon." — Langston Hughes "An artist must be free to choose what he does certainly, but he must also...
"I love language because when it succeeds, for me, it doesn't just tell me something. It enacts something. It creates something. And it goes both ways. Sometimes it's violent. Sometimes it hurts you. And sometimes it saves you." -- Claudia Rankine Did you know Claudia Rankine is one of our NEA Big...
"We tend to underestimate the psychic costs of writing lyric poetry. It’s already a dangerous effort that requires considerable amounts of character and self-awareness." — Gregory Pardlo Gregory Pardlo , recipient of a 2006 NEA Literature Fellowship for a Translation Project, is the very definition...
Click the link to take a look at the 2018 NEA Guide for details on the programs and activities of the NEA, as well as funding deadlines and information on Grants for Organizations, Literature Fellowships, Lifetime Honors, and Partnerships.
"[I]f we're all writing the same poem, what's the point?" — Camille Rankine As 2017 NEA Literature Fellow Camille Rankine told us in a recent phone interview, "[Writing is...
We realize we're a bit early both for St. Patrick's Day and the Poetry Out Loud National Finals ( April 24-25 in Washington, DC ), but really, is there such a thing as not a good time for poetry, especially when it was one of your favorite blog posts of 2017? Video of "Flood",...
Read our March 2017 Art Talk with poet, musician, and record producer Shirlette Ammons here .

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