Naomi Shihab Nye


Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her BA in English and world religions from Trinity University. Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, most recently Cast Away: Poems for Our Time (Greenwillow Books, 2020). Her other books of poetry include The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions, 2019); You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award; and 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (Greenwillow Books, 2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East. She is also the author of several books of poetry and fiction for children, including Habibi (Simon Pulse, 1997), for which she received the Jane Addams Children's Book award in 1998. Nye’s honors include awards from the International Poetry Forum and the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award, and four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 1988, she received the Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, judged by W. S. Merwin. She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2010 to 2015, and is the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate from 2019-2021. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Source

Excerpt from "Every day as a wide field, every page"

And there were so many more poems to read!

Countless friends to listen to.

We didn’t have to be in the same room—

the great modern magic.

Everywhere together now.

Even scared together now

from all points of the globe

which lessened it somehow.

Hopeful together too, exchanging

winks in the dark, the little lights blinking.

When your hope shrinks

you might feel the hope of

someone far away lifting you up.

Hope is the thing ...

Hope was always the thing!

What else did we give each other

from such distances?

Breath of syllables,

sing to me from your balcony

please! Befriend me

in the deep space.

When you paused for a poem

it could reshape the day

you had just been living.





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Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered