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Monday, February 25, 2013

Naomi Shihab Nye

"The story is given to you through the process of writing.  I always encourage my students to trust the process of writing.  It will take them somewhere, and it may not be where they thought they were going."

Naomi Shihab Nye
American Poet
1952 -

Sometimes we plan too much.  We want to control every detail.  We need to learn to follow the story.  It is a gift.  We need to trust the discovery process.  The story will not betray us.  

Creative Practice
This week write a poem or short story starting with the phrase, "On the day that I died ..."  Follow where the story leads.  Trust the writing.  Go where it goes.

Background on Poet
Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and American mother in St. Louis, Missouri.  She began writing poetry at the age of six.  She spent her high school years in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas.  She received her BA from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Nye described her writing experience in the Four Winds Press:  "My poems and stories often begin with the voices of our neighbors, mostly Mexican American, always inventive and surprising.  I never get tired of mixtures."  She describes herself as the wandering poet and interacts with different cultures.

Here is a video of Naomi Shihab Nye talking about inspiration:

I believe that people have more similarities than differences.  Yet people tend to focus on what makes them different than what makes them the same.  In this next video Nye describes a poetry class she taught where she used poems written by both Jewish and Palestinian women.  She used poetry to show that we are more alike than different.