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Naomi Shihab Nye

Distinguished Visiting Writer 2019

About Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle EastA Maze Me: Poems for GirlsRed SuitcaseWords Under the WordsFuel, and You & Yours (a best-selling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of Mint SnowballNever in a HurryI’ll Ask You Three Times, Are you Okay? Tales of Driving and Being Driven (essays); Habibi and Going Going (novels for young readers); Baby Radar, Sitti's Secrets, and Famous (picture books) and There Is No Long Distance Now (a collection of very short stories). Other works include several prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers, including Time You Let Me InThis Same SkyThe Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle EastWhat Have You Lost?, and Transfer. Her collection of poems for young adults entitled Honeybee won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Her novel for children, The Turtle of Oman, was chosen both a Best Book of 2014 by The Horn Book and a 2015 Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association. The Turtle of Oman was also awarded the 2015 Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature. Her most recent book is Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners. Her next book of poems is entitled The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions Ltd., April 2019).

More About Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye.” Poetry Foundation.

In her work, according to Jane Tanner in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, “Nye observes the business of living and the continuity among all the world’s inhabitants … She is international in scope and internal in focus.” Nye is also considered one of the leading female poets of the American Southwest.

Tippet, Krista “Your Life Is a PoemOn Being Podcast, March 15, 2018.

“When you’re in a very quiet place, when you’re remembering, when you’re savoring an image, when you’re allowing your mind calmly to leap from one thought to another, that’s a poem.” Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Kindness” has traveled around the world. She grew up between Ferguson, Missouri, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. She insists that language must be a way out of cycles of animosity. She’d have us notice “petite discoveries” that embolden us to choose human nourishment over division. “Before you know what kindness really is / you must lose things.”

Heritage Maza, Jill. “Voices in the AirSchool Library Journal, January 18, 2018.

Nye invokes the voices and spirits of countless inspirational figures past and present in her latest poetry collection. From Bruce Springsteen and Langston Hughes to Yehuda Amichai and Vera B. Williams to her own grandfather and a barber in Honolulu, Nye has utilized poetry as an equalizer and shows, without saying, that raised, wise, creative voices are powerful and vital.

Shihab Nye, Naomi. “So Much 

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.