'Be Surrounded By Poems': Naomi Shihab Nye On Tuesday's Access Utah

Mar 12, 2019

Credit UC Davis School of Education

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye says “I grew up in Ferguson, Mo. No one ever heard of it, unless you lived elsewhere in St. Louis County. Then my family moved to Palestine – my father’s first home. A friend says, ‘Your parents really picked the garden spots.’ In Ferguson, an invisible line separated white and black communities. In Jerusalem, a no-man’s land separated people, designated by barbed wire.

Nye has been called a “wandering poet,” interested in travel, place, and cultural exchange. She is coming to Logan for an event at USU next week. (She will be the inaugural speaker in the USU English Department’s Swenson Reading Series on Wednesday, March 20, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Merrill-Cazier Library Room 101, free and open to the public.) We’ll talk about walls in the Middle East and the United States, capturing the voice of childhood, and her current hometown, San Antonio, Texas.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet and anthologist and the acclaimed author, among many other books, of “Habibi: A Novel” and “Sitti's Secrets,” a picture book, which was based on her own experiences visiting her beloved Sitti in Palestine. Her book “19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East” was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has won several Pushcart Prizes and served for 5 years as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She has taught writing and worked in schools all over the world, including in Muscat, Oman. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.