2004 – Naomi Shihab Nye, Distinguished Poet and Author

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, essayist, children’s auther and songwriter. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem and San Antonio. Drawing on her heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in many parts of the world, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

She is the author and/or editor of more than twenty volumnes. Her books include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, and Fuel (poems); Never in a Hurry (a collection of essays); Habibi (a novel for young readers); and Lullaby Raft (a picture book). Her other works include a picture book, Baby Radar; and an anthology entitled Is This Forever, Or What?: Poems & Paintings from Texas (Greenwillow/HarperCollins).

Nye has worked for 28 years as a visiting writer in schools at all levels. A Lannan Fellow, she was a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Wittner Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received, among other honors, a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, four Pushcart Prizes and numerous awards and citations for her children’s literature including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.

She is a regular columnist for Organica and poetry editor for The Texas Observer. Her work has been presented on NPR on such shows as A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials, The Language of Life with Bill Moyers and The United States of Poetry, as well as the PBS program NOW with Bill Moyers.

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