Poetry Friday: Voices in the Air by Naomi Shihab Nye

IMG_1077Thanks to Irene at Live Your Poem for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

This week, I want to show case the title I nominated for the CYBILS Poetry Awaed:  VOICES IN THE AIR, POEMS FOR LISTENERS by Naomi Shihab Nye.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I consider her a mentor.  Last April, I attended the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture given by Naomi Shihab Nye.   I, of course, bought her latest book.

What if we were the listeners of all the voices in the air? Those who came before us or those we have yet to meet? What if we took the time to listen? What would we notice?

VOICES is divided into three sections: Messages, Voices in the Air, and More Worlds.

Nye begins with an introduction, a pondering of making sense of the strange world we currently reside in with a quote by Galway Kinnell, “To me, poetry is someone standing up to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.”

She reflects on a conversation student at the Yokohama International School in Japan. She said listening and writing poetry give us more yutori– a place to stand back to contemplate what we are living and experiencing…more spaciousness in being and more room to listen. I love this!

This ninety-five poem collection is contemplative and we should listen to one another read these poems aloud. Many of the poems were written for specific people. At the end of the book, Nye includes Biographical Notes.

We should take the time to slow down and listen.

Some of my favorite poems in this collection include: “Twilight”, “Train Across Texas”, and “Where do Poets Find Images, and For the Birds”.

Here’s the first few lines of perhaps my favorite (I’m not sure I can really choose)

Reserved for Poets
(Signs on first rows of chairs at poetry festival. La Conner, Washington)



Full moons.

No really–they’re everybody’s.

Nothing is reserved.

I highly encourage to find this book, read it, and listen.

Author: Naomi Shihab Nye
Published: 2018
Pages: 190
Reading Level: YA
Publisher: Greenwillow
ISBN: 978-0-06-269184-2
Source: Personal purchase


8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Voices in the Air by Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. Naomi Shihab Nye is a treasure. I’ve been lucky enough to listen to her speak and read her poetry–an experience not to be missed! This book was a gift from a dear friend and is in my TBR pile. Thanks for the reminder to nudge it toward the top!

  2. This quote by Galway Kinnell goes so well with Ruth’s post today:
    “To me, poetry is someone standing up to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.”

  3. Thank you for nominating this book and hi-lighting it here. It’s absolutely stunning and a winner in my eyes. If I could write the voices in the air around me……what a beautiful idea.

  4. I love Naomi Shihab Nye – thank you for sharing her latest. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  5. I was privileged to lead a panel at NCTE last week that we titled “Voices in the Air” after Naomi’s book. Her presentation highlighted the voices that have influenced and inspired her. They include William Stafford and Louise Clifton. Just being with Naomi is like wearing a warm coat around your shoulders. She holds each person she meets. Thanks for sharing her beautiful new work with the world.

  6. I have this book, among so many others by Naomi Nye that I treasure. Thanks for sharing your own love of it, Jone. I have sticky-noted so many pages that it becomes rather silly. All the poems are favorites!

  7. Thanks for reviewing and reminding us of Naomi Shihab Nye’s latest book, and sharing part of her poem–I’m looking forward to reading it!

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