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"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." -- William Stafford. The Cultures of. Jessie Smith and Kristen Orchard. Naomi Shihab Nye.

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jessie smith and kristen orchard

"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."

-- William Stafford

The Culturesof

Jessie Smith and Kristen Orchard

Naomi Shihab Nye

background information
Background Information
  • Born March 12, 1952 in St. Louis, MO (but well traveled)
  • Parents from different cultural backrounds
  • Married 1978, one son
  • B.A. from Trinity University
  • Also a singer and a teacher of a poetry workshop
  • Published first poem at age seven
  • selected by Texas Monthly as one of the "20 most impressive, intriguing and influential Texans”
  • First collection was "Different Ways to Pray"

Awards/Honors:

Award from Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, Jane Addams Children's Book award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize,the International Poetry Forum, four Pushcart Prizes, Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, Voertman Poetry Prize, aLannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Wittner Bynner Fellowship.

common themes
Common Themes

Culture

Diversity

RacismAncestry

Family

style commonalities
Style Commonalities
  • Symbolism
  • Metaphors
  • Hidden in depth meaning in ordinary obj.
  • Personifications
  • NO rhyming
influences
Influences
  • Cultural background
    • Mother was American
    • Father was Palestinian
    • Mexican American peers/neighbors
  • Grandmother
  • “My Grandmother in the Stars”
  • Weaken the idea that all Arabs are terrorists through poems
slide6
“Voices”

By Naomi Nye

the critics say
The Critics Say
  • “brings attension to the female as a humorous, wry creature with brisk, hard intelligence and a sense of personal freedom unheard of” – Contributor of Contemporary Poets
  • Nineteen Variations of Gazelle“will spark discussion and bring readers up close” (to what war and vengence really mean) – Hazel Rochman
  • “playfully and imaginatively instructive” – Contributor to Contemporary Southern Writers
  • “ability to draw clear parallels between the ordinary and sublime” – Jane L. Tanner
the critics say cont
The Critics Say cont.
  • Hugging the Jukebox“warmth and celebratory tone”– Various reviewers
  • “the fabric is thin and the mundaneness of the action shows through”– Mary Logue
  • “seems to be in good, easy relation with earth and its peoples”–David Kirby
  • range from “playful to pensive”-- Shelle Rosenfeld
  • “international in scope and internal in focus”– Jane L. Tanner
we agree
“brings attension to the female as a humorous, wry creature with brisk, hard intelligence and a sense of personal freedom unheard of”

“ability to draw clear parallels between the ordinary and sublime”

.range from “playful to pensive”

“international in scope and internal in focus”

“playfully and imaginatively instructive”

.Hugging the Jukebox “warmth and celebratory tone”

Celebrates differences in genders (I Feel a Little Jumpy around You ) female characters- strong, independent, personality, My Friends Divorce

Ordinary objects, people, events more complicate, deeper meaning, The Attic and its Nails

Poems with no deeper meaning, simple to poems addressing complicated moral and political issues

Many cultures, about many types of people but all very personal

Enlighten and inform readers about racial and cultural issues w/o hateful or forceful tone

This poem is as well as others, none angry or hateful tone, seems to be celebrating life even with its imperfection

We Agree…
we disagree
“will spark discussion and bring readers up close” (to what war and vengence really mean)

“the fabric is thin and the mundaneness of the action shows through”

“seems to be in good, easy relation with earth and its peoples”

Not her purpose- wanted to cause subtle awareness, people silently agree w/ her, a call for peace

The ordinariness and lack of action in some of her poems are effective, readers can relate

Means she is in good relations with society, in some poems points out things she doesn’t like in society

We Disagree…
slide11

Words of the Poet…

“For me the primary source of poetry has always been local life, random characters met on the street, our own ancestry sifting down to us through small essential daily tasks”

Poetry is:

"Whenever someone suggests 'how much is lost in translation!' I want to say, 'Perhaps--but how much is gained!'"

“conversation with the world, conversation with those words on the page allowing them to speak back to you-- conversation with yourself.”

list of works cited
List of Works Cited
  • "Article 1 Naomi Shihab Nye." Infotrac. 15 Apr. 2007. Thomson Gale. 22 Apr. 2007 <http://infotrac.galegroup.com>.
  • McQuien, Paul, and Kim G. Hochmeister. "Naomi Shihab Nye." Literary San Antonio. 2006. 12 Apr. 2007 <http://www.accd.edu>.
  • "Naomi Shihab Nye." Poets. 2007. The Academy of American Poets. 16 Apr. 2007 <http://www.poets.org>.
  • Nye, Naomi S. 19 Varieties of Gazelle. 1st ed. Greenwillow Brooks, 2002.
  • Nye, Naomi S. Fuel. Rochester, New York: Boa Editions, Ltd., 1998.
  • Nye, Naomi S. Red Suitcase. Brockport, New York: BOA Editions, Ltd., 1994.
  • "Transcript: Naomi Shihab Nye: a Bill Moyers Interview." PBS. 2007. Public Broadcasting Service. 17 Apr. 2007 <http://www.pbs.org>.