Interview with Naomi Shihab Nye

Interview with Naomi Shihab Nye

The poet, Naomi Shihab Nye is a national treasure, and generous beyond measure. She is a natural teacher, and is completely lit up, and on fire. In this interview she has so much to share about what it is to walk the world as a creative person, gathering moments as she goes, and then gently reflecting on what it means and why it matters. Her instruction is to live as though you live in a poem – and I couldn’t agree more. Interview :: July 2, 2021 Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent. Nye spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. 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 Charity Randall Prize, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry award, the Robert Creeley Prize, and many Pushcart Prizes. She has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and she was a Witter Bynner Fellow. From 2010 to 2015 she served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and is the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate. share this...
It’s all in the frame

It’s all in the frame

It’s all in the frame. That’s what my friend Nan said when I told her about the car accident last week, the way I barreled into the intersection, the collapse of the cars, the older Asian man who emerged from his vehicle intact. It’s all in the frame, she said, how I stood there squinting into the bright Oakland morning sun holding my phone, texting the man I was supposed to meet for coffee, “You won’t believe this,” I tapped, how I then turned to the older man who was staring at his car dumbfounded, the way he turned to me, “why?” he seemed to be saying with his eyes. It was all in the frame. Impossible to take in, one minute at the stop sign deciding whether to turn right and look for parking or maybe go through the intersection… The moment of impact, the sound of it – sonic – two big cars colliding. How the man’s Subaru sat like a defeated animal on the side of the road – two flat tires pushed up against the curb, the passenger side of his car completely crumpled, airbags inflated. Later I’d be grateful no one was sitting in that passenger seat, that he’d left his wife at home before heading to Costco. It was all in the frame. The 911 operator who tells me that there are 192 emergency calls ahead of mine and that if there are no injuries to simply call our insurance companies. How the older man had forgotten his phone and that I called his insurance company for him. “Are you sure you want...
Solo Notes

Solo Notes

1. Almost all the sounds are yours. And the ones that aren’t – the dry crunch of leaves along the side of the house, they’re either animal or man. Man is the heavier step, the raccoon and the possum are more tentative, more low to the leaves. And if you’re scared, you can get out of bed, like you did last night and stand by the window, flicking on the outside light to watch a little mouse duck under your house. 2. Your ex-husband left you a woodpile, which you need to load into the wheelbarrow and stack in the wood bin. It’ll take some time, but the gift will be the way you’ll remember how to use your body, the way you’ll bend to pick up the pieces he split, tossing them into the wheelbarrow, which you’ll make too heavy, lifting the handles, and wheeling it over to the wood bin. You love this honest labor. 3. The pile has been there for three weeks, ever since he drove away to New Mexico, and while it’s true you haven’t had the time to get to it, you like looking at the pile sitting in the yard because it reminds you of this act of love – the way he rented the wood-splitter to split the wood from the dead tree that came down. 4. Your love language is service, and as long as you can see the pile, you can feel the love. Maybe this is why asking for help feels so intimate. 5. There are people to call for the jobs you don’t know how to do;...
Art & Beauty Around the Fire

Art & Beauty Around the Fire

 Art & Beauty Around the Fire with Laurie Wagner and Andrea Scher September 11 – September 12, 2021 (Alameda, CA) Workshop Sold Out! It has been an incredible year, but we made it, we’re moving to the other side of things and we want to celebrate with you in the only way we know how… …through making things with our hands, through Wild Writing, and through honest conversations that bring us closer to ourselves and to each other. This is the medicine of these wild times. This is how we want to engage in the new world, this is our new normal.  We are beyond excited to invite you to an IN PERSON workshop this September 11th and 12th, 2021!!! Just typing those words makes our hearts leap in excitement. Like you, we have been missing the joy of being together in real life; The delight of clinking our glasses Writing together at the same table Making art in the sunshine Sitting around the firepit at night whispering stories Eating delicious food Making new friends Remembering that you belong Here are the details: When: Saturday, September 11th and Sunday, September 12th, 2021 Where: Laurie’s house in Alameda, CA  Who: Only 15 lucky peeps! Register below! What: Part quilting bee, part family reunion with your favorite cousins, part gratitude ritual for being (well, mostly) on the other side. Art making, story spinning, connecting. Cost: $595 – This includes all day Saturday (plus a special Saturday evening Storybowl gathering around the firepit) and all day Sunday. Catered lunch is provided both days + all the coffee, tea + snacks your heart desires. Plus, 15 of the most...
Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Cheesecake

It’s been hard to write full pieces this year, instead I must offer you the smallest things … The slice of lemon cheesecake bought on Friday to eat on Easter Sunday – in a white box in the refrigerator – and the way I cut the sheerest slices from it each night before Easter, before I went to bed. It’s me telling my daughter to come at 11, that I would make deviled eggs with jalapeño and bacon, that I’d pull together the lemon ricotta pancakes, and bring out the cheesecake. It’s the text I sent earlier in the week thanking the man for the date, and the second text I sent a few days later showing him how I’d used the details from our date in a writing lesson on details – which was really just me making contact. The way I named his sturdy, hip looking boots, how he’d picked up the check, ordered a mint julep and touched my shoulder when asking about my sisters. What I didn’t text him, but which was also true was How at the end of the date, as we were ending our walk at the top of my street, both of us masked, I told him that I’d had a good time – because I had – because it was easy and he was smart and he said he made his own bread. As I was saying my masked goodbye, no hug, no handshake, just me saying “let’s get together again.” It was the way I peeled away from him saying, “I’m a slow boat,” which were words I’d never...