August 22, 2012

Naomi Shihab Nye

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Poet Naomi Shihab Nye will give a reading of her works Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Stadler Center for Poetry, Bucknell Hall, at Bucknell University.

The reading, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's annual Gary and Sandra Sojka Visiting Poet series.

As the 18th annual Sojka Visiting Poet, Nye also will participate in a conversation and a question-and-answer session at 4 p.m. the same day in the Smith Library of the Vaughan Literature Building.

"We are especially pleased to welcome Naomi Shihab Nye to the University," said Shara McCallum, director of the Stadler Center for Poetry. "Nye's poetry is spiritual and rooted in personal experience, while also remaining socially and politically conscious — a powerful combination.

"Her meditative and thought-provoking poem, 'The Story, Around the Corner,' is one of the 10 poems gracing our inaugural Poetry Path."

The author or editor of more than 30 volumes of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature, Nye has travelled and taught in Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East. Her work has been featured on NPR, PBS television, and widely in magazines and journals.

Born in St. Louis to a Palestinian father and an American mother, Nye lived in Palestine, Jerusalem and Texas. She received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University.

She is the author of numerous books of poems, including You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East, Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).

Her poems and short stories have appeared in journals and reviews throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. She has traveled to the Middle East and Asia for the United States Information Agency three times, promoting international goodwill through the arts.

Nye has received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the International Poetry Forum, as well as four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 1988 she received The Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, selected by W.S. Merwin. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010.

The Sojka Series was established in 1995 through the generosity of Gary Sojka, who served as president of Bucknell from 1984 to 1995, and his wife, Sandra. The series consists of a short visit by a distinguished poet each fall. While on campus, the poet gives a reading and meets informally with those interested in the writing of poetry.

For more information about Nye's visit to Bucknell, contact the Stadler Center for Poetry at 570-577-1853 or visit

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