This week, as I have wandered the halls of Chicago’s great old hotels, as I’ve seen Mark Doty run for the elevator, and watched Thomas Sayers Ellis take photos of fans in front of the Hilton, I’ve been impressed beyond words by both the poise and the humanness of great writers. Tonight, I will have the privilege to hear Nikky Finney read. I love Ms. Finney’s work, but even more, I love the power and strength she gives to poets and other writers, the strength to know our work matters, to know that words change things – for good or ill – and to remind us of the power we hold on our tongues and in our fingers.

Today, give yourself the strength that comes from watching her National Book Award acceptance speech:

What does this speech inspire you to do as a writer?