National Book Awards Acceptance Speeches

Aileen Ward, Winner of the 1964 ARTS AND LETTERS AWARD for JOHN KEATS

As Allen Tate was the first to say, Keats is one of the real heroes of literature. There is hardly another life we know of that speaks so eloquently of the daring, the energy, and dedication that are required for great achievement as a writer. Keats' story is the portrait of the artist as a young man for all time; and to me, as one who learned to write in the act of writing this book, almost the most moving chapter in his life is the record of those eight anxious and bewildered and triumphant months in which he hammered out his first long poem, "Endymion," in self-imposed solitude and became a poet in the process.