Medgar Evers was the first NAACP field secretary in Mississippi. The civil rights leader was killed in 1963. AP hide caption

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On Dec. 8, three days after Nelson Mandela's death, a girl in Johannesburg lights a candle in his memory. Poet Mbali Vilakazi has written an elegy for Mandela that asks the next generation of South Africans to continue his legacy. Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Cover of New and Selected Poems by David Lehman. Courtesy of Scribner hide caption

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American-born British poet and playwright T.S. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Chris Bacon/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994. Courtesy of Grove Press hide caption

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Poet Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1995, is seen here in a file photo from 1991, when he was a professor at Harvard. Heaney has died at age 74. Joe Wrinn/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Wrinn/AP

Robert Pinsky served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000. Ebony Bailey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ebony Bailey/NPR