Thursday, October 9, 2014

Poetry Friday - found treasure

        All the Poetry Friday Links can be found at Tricia Stohr-Hunt's blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks for hosting today at the last minute Tricia.

                    "Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."  Carl Sandburg
       I visited a favorite used bookstore last Saturday, and found a prize, an early collection of poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, 1986. The sales ticket left in the book is from Pittsburg, PA. The cost was $4.00. I paid more for it used! While I have nearly all of Naomi Nye's children's poetry anthologies, I haven't read very many of her adult poems, mostly when others share. This particular book is her third, and reviews say it shows a more mature poet, one examining themes of loss, particularly in her growing concern for middle east problems. 
      Interestingly, one of the poems that touched me is titled Jerusalem, but when I searched for it online, I found another poem with the same title. 

The poem in this book begins:

    Two girls danced, red flames winding.
     I offered my shoes to the gypsies,
     threw back my head and yelled.  

It captures a scene where a trade of shoes for drums occurs, an experience, perhaps of the poet, perhaps a story she heard, or created?  Writing of gypsies coming in the night, a middle stanza says:

       To live without roads seemed one way
        not to get lost.  To make maps
        of stone and grass, to rub stars together
        and find a spark.

            I thought it simple lovely, was sad I couldn't find a link for you to read the rest, and hope you can find it. The other, later one, can be found here.

        Another favorite is Trying To Name What Doesn’t Change. It begins:

Roselva says the only thing that doesn't change
is train tracks. She's sure of it.
The train changes, or the weeds that grow up spidery
by the side, but not the tracks.
I've watched one for three years, she says,
and it doesn't curve, doesn't break, doesn't grow.

and the rest is here.

          One other that I found interesting is Office 337, Wheeler Hall, Berkeley, and the bonus is that I found a link to Naomi reading it. 
              It begins: I live in a room of abandoned things,
              typewriters with jammed ribbons,
              clocks that won't wind.
              Shelves of books inscribed,
              "To Clark, with respect and good wishes."
              Clark has moved to another building
               without them.                                          

           You can hear Naomi read here.  This particular recording is a discovery for me, and perhaps something new for some of you. Here is the link for more of Naomi's poems from this one poetry reading. It is from the archives of what is called The Elliston Project: Poetry Readings and Lectures at the University of Cincinnati. Their Home Page is here. You may find a favorite poet here too.

          Finally, don't forget that you have until the 15th to nominate a favorite children's book, poetry and more, for the Cybil's awards. Find that link here


  1. I am very partial to Naomi's work though there must be a lot of her books I haven't found yet. Thanks for sharing these gems, Linda.

  2. What a fabulous find! Enjoyed those last two poems especially. I'm always struck by her original perceptions.

  3. Don't you love when you stumble upon such a great find?! Thanks for sharing these gems.

  4. Trying To Name What Doesn’t Change is knocking my socks off, especially the last line. I have a Nye book sitting on the Free Book shelf in my library now. I will have to bring it home if it is still there on Monday.

  5. Wonderful found treasure, Linda! Thanks for sharing her words today-- I especially enjoyed hearing Office 337.

  6. Naomi is one of my favorites and since I met her last year, I can even call her a friend. Her poetry speaks of her soul. I have quite a few of her books, but not this one. Thanks for bringing us back to her poetry.

  7. Thanks for this little trip through the work of Ms. Nye. Even the snippets that you've given us are inspiring. How is it that some poets have a way of awakening one's poetic imagination with just a few words?

  8. what a wonderful find. I join those who love her work.

  9. I love when a gem of a book like this is uncovered. I love Naomi Shihab Nye's poetry, but I know I have not read enough of it - thanks for the nudge to read more, Linda. =)

  10. What a body of work she has! How interesting that she has two poems of the same name. I think it would be hard for me to not want to fiddle with my old poems if I had been writing books since 1986.

  11. These are lovely, Linda. I especially love the idea of rubbing "stars together" to "find a spark." Thank you for sharing your found treasure with us!

  12. Hi, Linda. In the snippets and lines you offer here, I see one of the elements I admire about Naomi Shihab Nye's work. She's so good at expressing characters and voice.

  13. Thank you for pushing to me read her, Linda.


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