Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye was born on this day in 1952. The daughter of a Palestinian father and American mother, she grew up in Missouri, Jerusalem, and Texas. Both a poet and author (and plenty of other things, I'm sure!), she has won many awards, among them the Jane Addams Children's Book award for Sitti's Secrets and Habibi. If you don't know this award, it is given to works that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence.

Among my favorite books of Nye's poetry are 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East and Come With Me: Poems for a Journey. She was also responsible for collecting the works in the terrific volume The Space Between Our Footsteps.

Here is the title poem from Come With Me: Poems for a Journey (Greenwillow, 2000).
Come With Me
To the quiet minute between two noisy minutes
It's always waiting ready to welcome us
Tucked under the wing of the day
I'll be there
Where will you be?
Why don't you take the journey with this wonderful author and poet? Open up a book or volume of poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye and find your way to a world where many of us have never been.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Nye!


  1. Tricia,

    Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets. Several of the adult poems I love best come from her book RED SUITCASE, including "Valentine for Ernest Mann"--which I recited as a "favorite poem" when I participated in the first Summer Poetry Institute for Teachers at Boston University in 2001. The institute was sponsored by the BU School of Education and Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project. It was a great experience to spend five days discussing poetry with award-winning poets and other educators.

  2. Hi Elaine!
    One of my favorite lines in all of poetry comes from this poem. "You can't order a poem like you order a taco." I love the way she uses words and the images that I get when I read them. A colleague in English has been trying to bring her to campus for years, but to no avail. I would love to here her speak, or even just read her poems.
    I'm going off now to check out the Favorite Poem site.

  3. She is one of my favoirt poets as well. I was fortunate to have her a teacher in a summer writing class for a week.