The Big Read Blog (Archive)

National Endowment for the Arts

William Shakespeare is the most-produced playwright in the English-speaking world. It's been said that every single day, at least one of his plays is being performed. Obviously, this means his plays are studied by almost anyone involved with the theater, from directors to actors to designers. Add...
Rickey Laurentiis. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths When I first contacted poet Rickey Laurentiis a few weeks ago, he was preparing to defend his MFA thesis at Washington University in St. Louis. This, I thought, was ironic: the 24-year-old has been awarded an NEA Poetry Fellowship, a Cave Canem...
One of the pieces of artwork completed as part of the oral history project at Miami Dade College's Center for Literature and Theatre. Photo courtesy of Paola Fernandez Rana As a civilian, I’ve always felt sincere gratitude and respect towards those who have fought for our country. I’ve studied past...
great gatsby by flickr user cdrummbks Given that F. Scott Fitzgerald coined the term “Jazz Age,” it seemed appropriate to herald Jazz Appreciation Month with a look at the author’s definitive novel of the Roaring 20s, The Great Gatsby . As we note in our Big Read audio guide of the book, “the...
Citywide Poets alumnus and community liaison Justin Rogers performs his spoken word in Detroit. Photo courtesy of InsideOut Literary Arts Project In 2011, InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit launched a Big Read program around the poetry of Emily Dickinson, an ideal choice for an organization...
Take a Poem by flickr user pedrosimoes7 Take a Poem by flickr user pedrosimoes7 Well, it's officially April. Not only does this mark the start of National Poetry Month, but it's also time to begin our countdown to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals , which will take place April 29-30 in Washington...
A few weeks ago, we shared our 15 favorite fictional females with you. As we close out Women's History Month, we thought we'd put together a different set of literary heroines: the authors themselves. While this list is far from complete, we hope it serves as an acknowledgement of those who inspire...
Poet Emily Dickinson lived over a century ago (she passed in 1886), but her innovative approach to poetry is still distinct in the 21st century. As former Poetry Foundation president John Barr says in our audio program, The Poetry of Emily Dickinson , "From her private room in the town of...
Charles Waugh. Photo by Donna Barry Charles Waugh. Photo by Donna Barry While it's commonplace to say that art is a universal language, there is at least one artistic field where this doesn't quite hold true, and that is literature. Unlike visual art or dance or music, literature must go through an...
Think back to the last time you wrote something down. Not typed it out but, wrote---with your hands, on a piece of paper, for an extended period of time to complete a thought. Chances are it has been a while. Technology and literature is something we talk a good deal about at the NEA: how readers...

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