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Nikky Finney Speech Rocks National Book Awards

Last night poet Nikky Finney rocked the National Book Awards with her acceptance speech for the poetry award. You can watch her speech in the video embedded above–simply scroll ahead to 16:10-mark.

Follow this link to read a free sample of her award winning book, Head Off & Split. When she finished, host John Lithgow remarked: “That was the best acceptance speech for anything I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s also the loudest I’ve ever heard anyone cheer for an award for poetry.”

Here are a few excerpts from the speech: “We begin with history, the slave codes of South Carolina,” she reads. “We shiver together … To be in your company is to brightly burn … Black people were the only people in the United States who were ever officially not allowed to become literate. I am now officially speechless.”

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