Thanks 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)
No really–they’re everybody’s.
Nothing is reserved.
I highly encourage to find this book, read it, and listen.
Title: VOICES IN THE AIR, POEMS FOR LISTENERS
Author: Naomi Shihab Nye
Reading Level: YA
Source: Personal purchase