Naomi Shahib Nye
March 6, 2013
Naomi Shahib Nye reads from her poetry Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Auditorium. Her reading is part of the presentation of the 13th Annual Robert Creeley Award. Creeley was a major, influential American poet who grew up in West Acton. At his death in March 2005, he was a Distinguished Professor of English at Brown University.
Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University.
Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. The poet William Stafford has said “She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."
She is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East; A Maze Me: Poems for Girls; Red Suitcase; Words Under the Words; Fuel; and You & Yours (a best-selling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of Mint Snowball; Never in a Hurry; I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay? Tales of Driving and Being Driven (essays); Habibi and Going Going (novels for young readers); and Baby Radar and Sitti’s Secrets (picture books). Other works include eight prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers. Her collection of poems for young adults entitled Honeybee won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Fall of 2011 saw the publication of two new books, There Is No Long Distance Now (a collection of very short stories) and Transfer (poems).
Ms. Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry prize in the country. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on 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” and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. In January 2010 Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. In October 2012 she was named laureate of the 2013 NSK Prize for Children’s Literature. She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.
The Creeley Foundation continues to bring internationally-recognized poets to the Acton area; to host the Helen Creeley Student Poetry Prize; to encourage rich collaboration between the ABRHS art and literature students in the annual broadside challenge that combines art and poetry; to host a luncheon with the award-winning poet and an audience of students; and to expand our existing programming to continue to work to foster a love of poetry in the Acton schools and community and well beyond the town’s borders.
Recent winners of the Robert Creeley Award include John Ashbery, Sonia Sanchez, Gary Snyder, Bruce Weigl and Thomas Lux.
This year’s winners of the Helen Creeley Student Poetry Prize will open the evening by reading from their work. Charina Hanley is an ABRHS junior and Talin Tahajian is a junior at Belmont High School. The Helen Creeley Student Poetry Prize honors Robert Creeley’s late sister, an award-winning student poet who mentored her younger brother. High school students were invited to submit original poems to be considered for this distinction. Based on their written work and two auditions, Hanley and Tahajian were selected from over sixty-five contestants from twenty-four high schools.
After a Q&A, a book-signing session and sale of broadsides will conclude the evening.
The school is located at 36 Charter Rd., Acton, just west of the intersection of Rtes. 27 and 111, where parking is ample.
This free, public event is made possible with the support of Acton Boxborough Community Education, the Acton Memorial Library Foundation, the Friends of the Acton Libraries, the Georgia Whitney Memorial Trust Fund, and the Acton-Boxborough, Concord, Littleton and Westford Cultural Councils, local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a State agency.