Naomi Shihab Nye

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Rule Breakers: Walk Away

I started ninth grade as one of five girls admitted to the Friends Boys School in Ramallah. We all needed a school that taught in English, but from the first week, the girls were often in trouble for minor infractions. A school mistress kept her sharp eye on us. We...

The Book That Changed My Life: At Home in the Pages

My mother, now ninety — the first person who ever read poems to me — must have given me this book, but she does not remember the occasion. By the time I was seven (1959), my copy was hand-worn and familiar. I toted it proudly. At 608 pages, containing more...

"Alive": A Poem

Dear Abby, said someone from Oregon,I am having trouble with my boyfriend’s attachmentto an ancient gallon of milk still fullin his refrigerator. I told him it’s me or the milk,is this unreasonable? Dear Carolyn,my brother won’t speak to mebecause fifty years ago I whispereda monkey would kidnap him in the...

Spiral Staircase

No one will ever approach you and say, “This looks like a good day to curl up and read poetry.” You have to do that for yourself. One great thing is — you can sneak it in, between all the other things you are doing. The poet William Stafford carried...

Snapshots: "Delicious rhythms"

Recently when our ten-year-old son was asked to name his favorite book, he said promptly, "I have thousands of favorites," and proceeded to describe his room as if he were living in a small crack between bookshelves — the pleasant problem of the voracious reader. Madison's bookshelves span a decade...

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