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


Thirty Days of Student Poetry: Part Two

Every Tuesday, I travel two miles to a nearby school providing overload library help by teaching two classes. It’s my second year with these two classes. Both are for special needs. The older class recently researched important people and then wrote poems.

More from my other school:

Robert Goddard

He is a scientist.

Experimented with rockets, built rockets, tested fuels,

Liquid fuels, and liquid oxygen

Made rockets more powerful

Useful builder


Johnathan F.
3rd grade



Ben Franklin

I am as bright as a computer

Smart, bright, brave, inventive

He invented daylight savings time

American patriot


Hunter K.
3rd grade



Walter Elias Disney

I am as imaginative as an artist.

Good life, trouble with sister, Mary

So nice, so funny

It took a lot of years to build Disneyland.

Mr. Disney had trouble with money


Isabelle S.
3rd grade



Shaquille O’Neal

I am a basketball player

Play basketball, dad, husband,

Visits hospitals and homeless shelters

Shaq is seven foot tall

Was “Rookie of the Year”

Slam Dunker Shaq


Aiden W.
3rd grade



Barack Obama

He is the President

Attended college, born August 4, 1961

He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii

First African American President


Ethan C.
3rd grade

Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week


1. The week did not start well. My friend and former colleague died of brain cancer. But the response from the online community of writers with poems made the list especially this ONE.

2. Preschool Read and Play continues to grow and we have consistency with families who attend. We now have bells and shakers for music. This week the local public librarian presented the program.

3. My friend, Barbara, came to spend the day with me. We student taught together. I had no license so she was my driver to school. She stepped in to read when I had to help a student.

4. Our School Showcase on Tuesday evening. We gave away over 500 pieces of pizza! Some many families came to hear the band, orchestra, choir, and to see what was happening in the classrooms.
5. The annual present exchange at my friend, Carol’s home. Carol is a retired teacher librarian. We have known each other for over 28 years. She gathers the people from all parts of her life for an evening. There’s food, drinks, and holiday adornments which we all must wear. This year we shared stories from Christmas past. My favorite was the woman who was raised in Hong Kong and what she would do in Christmas Day with her Catholic dad. How they would go to service, then out to the villages to see friends, and finally to a bakery. Her mother, a Buddhist, stayed home.

20131207-080628.jpgMy friend, Carol.

20131207-080635.jpgMy adornments.

More celebrations can be found at Ruth Ayres. What are you celebrating?

Poetry Friday: Poetry Pairings


This year I am trying something new. I want to incorporate more poetry throughout the year so I am pairing poems with books, thus “Poetry Pairings.”

This week, I am reading Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. Do you know the book? Each kindness done and not done affects the world. I found a great poem to pair with this story: “Something I Did” by Janet Wong. Both speak to friendship.

Something I Did

Something I did
made Alex
not like me.
Something I did —
but what?
If Alex would tell me,
if Alex would say–
then maybe
we’d fix things
we could play
at recess
like we used to do.
What did I do wrong?
I wish I knew.

By Janet Wong
Poetry Friday Anthology, K-5 Edition

Poetry Friday is hosted by Laura Shovan at Author Amok.

Happy Poetry.
Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Collaborative Poem and Information About the Cybils


Do you know about “The Time is Now”, from Poets and Writers? It’s a weekly email, with a great little column Poetry Prompt filled with inspiration. Back in February there was this prompt:

Text Me

Send a line of poetry to a friend via text message or e-mail and ask her to compose a line in response. Collaborate on drafting a poem in this way, building it line by line until you both agree that it’s reached its end. Using the final product as a draft, revise the poem and have your friend do the same. Compare your final drafts.

So I contacted Mary Lee Hahn and we began a joint poem. We didn’t do the “consider the final product as a draft” but I might in the future.

Here’s our collaborative poem:

At the Edge of Spring

It bites, the wind
Blown down from North
Howling like a freight train

It stings, the snow
Sidewinder flakes
Coiling, hissing, striking

A family huddled
‘neath a pine
Singing into the wind

The song of spring
Melting winter’s grip
Their faces turned toward the sun

© Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, 2013


The time is now for the CYBILs. Do you want to help select the best poetry book of 2013? Do you wonder if you are right for the job? Read my blog post HERE.

Go to the CYBILS to apply.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Betsy of I Think in Poems .

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.