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Current Season

Conversations with Poet Naomi Shihab Nye

April 6, 2022

readings and book signings at 10AM and 8PM
+ 7PM open mic for area poets--bring your work and share!
Kerr-McGee Auditorium, OCU Meinders School of Business

NW 27th & N. McKinley--free parking in the lots around the building

Books available for purchase on site from our friends at Full Circle Book Store


Why do your poems comfort me, I ask myself.
Because they are upright, like straight-backed chairs.
I can sit in them and can study the world as if it too
were simple and upright.

~ from "You Know Who You Are," by Naomi Shihab Nye

Oklahoma City University's annual Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series. will host public presentations by celebrated poet Naomi Shihab Nye on April 6th at 10AM and 8PM for the

*PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with OCU protocols for extra-curricular events and the poet's contract, face masks and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test will be required for all attendees*

Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent more than 40 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry for adults and children include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (a finalist for the National Book Award) , A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, Red Suitcase, Words Under the Words, Fuel, Transfer, You & Yours (a best-selling poetry book of 2006), Mint Snowball, Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners, Come with Me: Poems for a Journey, Honeybee (awarded the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category), The Tiny Journalist (Best Poetry Book from both the Texas Institute of Letters and the Writers League of Texas), Cast Away: Poems for Our Time (one of the Washington Post's best children’s books of 2020), and Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems (2020).Her collections of essays include Never in a Hurry, and I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are you Okay? Tales of Driving and Being Driven. Her fiction books for young people include Habibi, Going Going, There Is No Long Distance Now, and The Turtle of Oman. The Turtle of Oman was chosen a Horn Book Best Book of 2014, a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association, and was awarded the 2015 Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature. Her picture books include Baby Radar, Sitti's Secrets, and Famous. She has also edited nine poetry anthologies including I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You, Time You Let Me In, This Same Sky, The Space Between Our Footsteps, and What Have You Lost?. Her next book will be The Turtle of Michigan (Greenwillow Books, March 15, 2022) a sequel to The Turtle of Oman.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the recipient of many accolades. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress), has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards--among many others. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials including “The Language of Life with Bill Moyers” and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been affiliated with The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin for 20 years and also poetry editor at The Texas Observer for 20 years. She has been a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the 2019-2021 Young People's Poet Laureate of the Poetry Foundation. In 2020 she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Book Critics Circle and in 2021 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Nye currently teaches Creative Writing at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.

New Works by Naomi Shihab Nye!

  • Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose (2022)
  • The Turtle of Michigan: A Novel (a sequel to The Turtle of Oman, 2022)

Learn more--listen to Naomi Shihab Nye on the public radio podcast "On Being"

Watch her read her poem "Kindness":

This event has been made possible with the generous financial support of the Thatcher Hoffman Smith endowment fund at OCU, Oklahoma Humanities, and other forms of support from our partners at the Oklahoma Writing Project, Full Circle Books, and the Oklahoma Arts Institute.

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