"The real reason that literary prizes are so prized ... is that prize-giving is intrinsic to the purposes of poetry. From birds to bards, the urge to outdo the other singer is what makes us sing. ... Fame, honor, the laurel, and the bays, this more even than getting back at the girls, or the boys, who left you for another--the writer's other great motivation--is the poetic passion."
- The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik, reflecting on the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded last week