Naomi Shihab Nye is a wandering poet - for over 30 years she has traveled America and the world to read and teach. Born in Missouri to a Palestinian father and an American mother, she grew up in St Louis, Jerusalem and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American background, the cultural diversity of Texas, and her experiences in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Middle East, her poetry ‘reflects this textured heritage, which endowed her with an openness to the experiences of others and a sense of continuity across borders’ (Bill Moyers).
Through her empathetic use of poetic language, she reveals the shining nature of our daily lives, whether writing about local life in her inner-city Texan neighbourhood or the daily rituals of Jews and Palestinians in the war-torn Middle East. Probing the fragile connection between language and meaning, she shows how lives are marked by tragedy, inequity and misunderstanding, and that our best chance of surviving losses and shortcomings is to be acutely aware of the sacred in all things.
‘In the current literary scene, one of the most heartening influences is the work of Naomi Shihab Nye. Her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life’ – William Stafford
‘Naomi Shihab Nye breathes poetry like the rest of us breathe air. When she exhales, the world becomes different. Better’ – The Grand Rapids Press
‘Tender yet forceful, funny and commonsensical, reflective and empathic, Nye writes radiant poems of nature and piercing poems of war, always touching base with homey details and radiant portraits of family and neighbours’ – Donna Seaman, Booklist