Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Naomi Shihab Nye

On April 5, 2013 I posted a blog How Far Would You Drive for Poetry?
And my answer was... Round trip 260 miles. And let me tell you it was well worth the trip.
part of my blog read...
Today I drove a great distance because I wanted to hear Naomi Shihab Nye present a poetry reading and writer's workshop at a community college in Brainerd, MN. She is a poet, author and songwriter. I have always admired her work and in person I was even more dazzled with her stage presence. Nye captured the audience's attention with her earnestness, self-deprecating humor and writing wisdom as she shared personal stories, experiences and favorite poems with the group. 

Naomi Shihab Nye is considered one of the leading female poets of the American Southwest, a songwriter and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and American mother. Although Nye regards herself as a "wandering poet" she refers to San Antonio as her home. 

Nye’s literary work reflects her travels and her experiences in a family of mixed religion and culture. She explores diversity in all of her poetry and fiction, weaving in personal stories against the background of cultural confrontation. After the World Trade Center attack in 2001, she became an active voice for Arab-Americans speaking out against both terrorism and prejudice.

She says a visit to her grandmother in the village of Sinjil was a life-changing experience. She was the recipient of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature. Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. She is the author of several books of poetry and fiction for children, including Habibi (Simon Pulse, 1997), for which she received the Jane Addams Children’s Book award in 1998, several short stories, edited three anthologies and authored numerous books of poems for adults.
The Rider
by Naomi Shibab Nye

A boy told me

if he roller-skated fast enough

his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard

for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight

pedaling hard down King William Street

is if it translates to bicycles.

A victory! To leave your loneliness

panting behind you on some street corner

while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,

pink petals that have never felt loneliness,

no matter how slowly they fell.


By Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.

Hot Reuben Appetizers
Cook's notes: Remember Corned Beef Puff Pastry from blog posting March 2, 2015? 

Well I had some filling left over from a new batch of Corned Beef Puff Pastry appetizers recently made for company. I spread the filling on rye cocktail bread slices. The Corned Beef Puff Pastry appetizer got a makeover with its new name Hot Reuben Appetizers. Doesn't get any easier than this! 


  • rye cocktail bread slices
  • 6 oz. deli corned beef chopped
  • 3 TB. green onion
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 TB. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip 
  • 3 TB.pickle relish, drained 
  • 1 TB.Dijon mustard
  • optional 1/3 cup drained sauerkraut
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Spread filling on bread slices and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 5-6 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

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