Poet Naomi Shihab Nye has spent 38 years leading writing workshops for students of all ages around the world. We recently sat down with her to discuss her most recent work, “Transfer,” which draws upon her Palestinian heritage, family deaths and the cultural diversity of her home in Texas to create poems about our shared humanity and its power to overcome sadness.
“I think the job of writing and literature is to encourage each one of us to believe that we’re living in a story,” she told us. “Everything around is interesting. We’ve already survived conflicts, we’ve found ways to talk to people who aren’t exactly like us. How could we talk about that?”
We’ll post Thursday’s profile of Nye here later this evening. In the video above, she reads two poems: “Hello Palestine,” an homage to her father who lost his home and arrived in the United States a refugee, and “Cinco de Mayo,” which explores how people are present in our memories and lives even after they have died. Below, Nye talks about teaching poetry and about what poetry can mean in our world.