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Naomi Shihab Nye

photo of Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Award-winning Arab-American poet
  • Academy of American Poets chancellor
  • Children’s book author
A prominent Arab-American poet, Naomi Shihab Nye lives in San Antonio, Texas. Born in 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother, Nye has always belonged to more than one culture. She spent part of her adolescence in the Middle East before settling in Texas, where she has established herself as a literary voice of the American Southwest. Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including Different Ways to Pray, On the Edge of the Sky, Yellow Glove, You and Yours, 19 Varieties of Gazelle, Fuel, Red Suitcase, Hugging the Jukebox. Her honors include the NSK Neustadt Prize, the Carity Randall Prize, the Voertman Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, a Lavan Award, and a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.  Read Full Biography

Nye says that for her, “the primary source of poetry has always been local life, random characters met on the streets, our own ancestry sifting down to us through small essential daily tasks.” Poet William Stafford has said, “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.” Poet Paul Christensen noted that Nye “is building a reputation…as the voice of childhood in America, the voice of the girl at the age of daring exploration.” Mary Logue once wrote of Nye’s poems about daily life, “Sometimes the fabric is thin and the mundaneness of the action shows through. But, in an alchemical process of purification, Nye often pulls gold from the ordinary.” (Quotes from longer biographies at Poetry Foundation and Academy of American Poets.)

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