Join this interview with poet Naomi Shihab Nye for the afikra Conversations series.
Naomi Shihab Nye is the daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother. Nye’s experience of both cultural difference and different cultures has influenced much of her work. Nye is considered one of the leading female poets of the American Southwest. After the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, Nye became an active voice for Arab Americans, speaking out against both terrorism and prejudice. The lack of understanding between Americans and Arabs led her to collect poems she had written which dealt with the Middle East and her experiences as an Arab American into one volume. 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Nye is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her work, including the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Book Critics Circle, the Lavan Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Carity Randall Prize, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry award, the Robert Creeley Prize, and many Pushcart Prizes.