Feb 15, 2009

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri to an American mother and a Palestinian father. At the age of seven, she published her first poem, and at age 14, her family moved to Jerusalem, where she attended a year of high school. Her family then moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she lives today with her husband and son. In her writing, she draws on the voices of the Mexican-Americans that live near her, as well as the perspectives of Arab-Americans like herself and the ideas and practices of the different local subcultures of America.

Nye has gained a reputation for poetry that shows ordinary events, people and objects from a new perspective. She says, "For me the primary source of poetry has always been local life, random characters met on the streets, our own ancestry sifting down to us through small essential daily tasks" (Contemporary Authors).

After getting her B.A. from Trinity University in 1974, Naomi Shihab Nye began her career as a freelance writer, editor, and speaker. She has earned numerous awards for her writing, including four Pushcart Prizes, the Jane Addams Children's Book award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and many notable book and best book citations from the American Library Association.

In her first collection of poetry, Different Ways to Pray, Nye explores the shared experiences and differences between cultures. She continues this focus in her second collection, Hugging the Jukebox, writing about the ordinary and the perspectives of people in other lands. Nye creates poetry from everyday scenes, celebrating the similarities between us all, as well as our diversity.

Nye's third collection of poetry, Yellow Glove, reflects a new, more mature perspective, influenced by the continuing unrest in the Middle East and the amounts of tragedy and sorrow found there. Still, she maintains an undertone of hope, realizing that facing sorrow and adversity only makes us stronger.

Besides her collections of poetry, Nye has also written children's books, music and poetry recordings, and translations of poetry. In addition, she has written a book of essays, called Never in a Hurry, and edited several poetry anthologies, including This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from around the World, which contains some of the translated work of 129 poets from 68 different countries. In 1997, Nye published her first young adult novel, entitled Habibi, which is the autobiographical story of an Arab-American teenager who moves to Jerusalem during the 1970s.


I post my favourite from her collection...

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
you could tumble any second.
decide what to do with your time.

And I just about loved Two Countries


Works of the Author:
  • The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East (2002)
  • 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002)
  • Mint Snowball (2001)
  • Come with Me (2000)
  • How To Undress a Cop (with Sarah Cortez) (2000)
  • What Have You Lost? (1999)
  • Fuel (1998)
  • The Space between Our Footsteps: Poems and Paintings from the Middle East (1998)
  • Lullaby Raft (1997)
  • Habibi (1996)
  • Never in a Hurry (1996)
  • Benito's Dream Bottle (1995)
  • Words under the Words: Selected Poems (1995)
  • Red Suitcase (1994)
  • Sitti's Secrets (1994)
  • Mint (1991)
  • Invisible (1987)
  • Yellow Glove (1986)
  • Hugging the Jukebox (1982)
  • Different Ways to Pray (1980)

Naomi Shihab Nye in her own words


Wise Words of the Day: Feb 15 2009.

"Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it."
-- Ursula K Le Guin, from "A Tomb of Atuan"


Jan 2, 2009

Nananyah's Tongue Twisters

Time to have some fun, frolic and faughter, fith funny fung fwisters.... fafafafa! While there are many original tongue twisters in the English Language everywhere on the net, and also in our childhood memories, this topic is essentially about tongue twisters that I constructed myself as part of fun competition on quoteland.com

Right from Amitabh Bacchhan's Kaccha Papad, Pakka Papad, to the very staid Betty who bought some butter to make the bitter butter better, we remember all of them so well. So here's my small tribute to all those yester year fung fwisfers... try saying them for fun!

- Sally sucks seashells so she should sleep supinely.
- Swinging Sherry sat sideways so she surely sang sugary songs.
- Quake Quotient: Quiet quills quiver quite quickly!
- Five flamingos flew flamboyantly fearing from fifty-five freezing furry fuzzie friends.
- One old ominous octopus ozonised outrageously, on odourless ovaries of otters over oxygenated oceans.
- Blimey, Barney!! Bearded Babcock banged bartender Bobby's blue bathtub by blunt blows.
- Moot moments made Magic Merlin marry Miss Merry Muffingbone making meaner morons mad.
- Real red roses rise rather remarkably round Rutherford Road resembling really restful realm.
- Prego!
Pathetic Paula pricked purple papers passionately, putting placid paper pins pressed properly perpendicular.

- Clever Carla comfortably clad, captivated crouching Carlos' coldly claustrophobic close cousins creatively.
Ghastly gargoyles get gobsmacked gathering green gurgling gremlins going garrulously ga-ga.
Chirpy children chucking chocolate charmingly, checked choked chequered cheques chattering cheekily.
Prickly Priscilla, pressed prime prizes primly pasted, past popular propogated pride.
Melissa's midnight melodies muttered magically mellow, merely meant most mother's meet many more mean, morose madmen, monthly. Much multiplied madness! Big Grin

I absolutely adore the last one.

Jan 2, 2009 - Wise Words of the Day.

On That Side, beyond the clouds,
The mountain is blue-green as jade
The white clouds on the mountain
Are whiter than white
From the spring on the mountain,
Drop after drop
Who knows how to see the face
In the white clouds?
Clear skies and rain have their times,
They’re like lightening
Who knows how to listen to the
Sound of this spring?
It flows on without stopping
Through thousands
And thousands of turns
The moment before thought is
Already wrong
To try to say anything further
Is embarrassing.
-- T’aego (1301-1382)

Jan 1, 2009

Fairy Tale Aphorisms

Aphorism: –noun
a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

1520–30; F aphorisme < LL aphorismus < Gk aphorismós definition, equiv. to aphor[ízein) to define [see aphorize ) + -ismos -ism

There exists a tradition of reducing well‐known tales to short aphorisms of a few lines, in addition to the number of literary adaptations of fairy tales in the form of prose works, poems and plays. These aphorisms are connected to Fairy Tales in general or to specific tales/folklores and their individual motifs. These connections can be found not only among the aphorisms of highly acclaimed authors but also among anonymous one liners of modern graffitis. They represent remnants of the original fairy tales and can be categorised into fairy Tale Aphorisms, which for the most part question the traditional nature of the traditional versions. Most often than not, power, crime, violence, selfishness, greed, materialism, sex and hedonism are the subjects of these aphorisms.

Frog King
- You have to kiss a lot of toads (frogs), before you meet your handsome prince.
- Better one night with a prince than a whole life with a frog.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
- Better once with Snow White than seven times with the dwarfs.
- Did you know that Snow White had no rest on any day of the week?
- I used to be Snow White … but I drifted
- Seven hills don't make a mountain and seven dwarfs don't make a prince.

- I'm not Cinderella. I can't force my foot into the glass slipper.
- Better blood in the shoe than a prince around the neck.
- When I was nine I played the demon king in Cinderella and it launched me on a long and happy life of being a monster.
- There is no Cinderella, and I'm not her Prince.

Little Red Riding Hood:
- All good things come in threes, said the wolf and took the huntsman as his dessert.

Emperor's New Clothes:
- It is not always a question of the Emperor having no clothes on. Sometimes it is, "Is that an Emperor at all?" (Idries Shah)
- I keep the dreams and the illusion. You keep the tinderbox and the emperor's new clothes.
- He is only telling the truths that should be plain and obvious to everyone. And yet, the whole world conspires to deny them.

Ugly Duckling:
- Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. (Oscar Wilde)
- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust)
- She showed me to the mirror with a flourish as if I were the ugly duckling about to see myself as the swan.


Will update as and when I find more. Smile