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Reads by Maria Popova

Finding Poetry in Other Lives: James Baldwin on Shakespeare, Language as a Tool of Love, and the Poet’s Responsibility to a Divided Society
Finding Poetry in Other Lives: James Baldwin on Shakespeare, Language as a Tool of Love, and the Poet’s Responsibility to a Divided Society

“The greatest poet in the English language found his poetry where poetry is found: in the lives of the people. He could have done this only through love — by knowing… that whatever was happening to anyone was happening to him.”

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There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions
There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions

A generous reminder that we must aim for “a revelation in the heart rather than a confrontation or a call-to-arms or a defense.”

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Carl Sagan on Moving Beyond Us vs. Them, Bridging Conviction with Compassion, and Meeting Ignorance with Kindness
Carl Sagan on Moving Beyond Us vs. Them, Bridging Conviction with Compassion, and Meeting Ignorance with Kindness

“In the course of looking deeply within ourselves, we may challenge notions that give comfort before the terrors of the world.”

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Elena Ferrante on the Myth of Inspiration, Writing on Demand, and the Central Truth of the Creative Process
Elena Ferrante on the Myth of Inspiration, Writing on Demand, and the Central Truth of the Creative Process

“Words draw out words: one can always write a banal, elegant, heartfelt, amusing coherent page on any subject, low or high, simple or complex, frivolous or fundamental.”

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Kindness Over Fear: Naomi Shihab Nye Tells the Remarkable Real-Life Story That Inspired Her Beloved Poem “Kindness”
Kindness Over Fear: Naomi Shihab Nye Tells the Remarkable Real-Life Story That Inspired Her Beloved Poem “Kindness”

“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, / you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.”

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November 9, 1928: The Trial of Radclyffe Hall and Virginia Woolf’s Exquisite Case for the Freedom of Speech
November 9, 1928: The Trial of Radclyffe Hall and Virginia Woolf’s Exquisite Case for the Freedom of Speech

“Writers produce literature, and they cannot produce great literature until they have free minds. The free mind has access to all knowledge and speculation of its age, and nothing cramps it like a taboo.”

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