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Naomi Shihab Nye: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Known for elevating the “ordinary” with her keen observations, including life in Latino and Arab communities, Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye is the author or editor of more than 30 works of poetry, fiction and essays. Her books include Words Under the Words; Red Suitcase; Fuel; You and Yours; Never in a Hurry; Habibi; A-maze Me; Honeybee; and 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, which was nominated for the National Book Award.

Nye, whose father was a journalist, gleans many of the subjects for her poems from the news, including writing about both the tensions and close relationships between Palestinians and Israelis. The promotion of cross-cultural understanding and peace is an important component of her work, as is teaching poetry to children, publishing their poems and writing children’s books.

Marcia Franklin talks with Nye about her beginnings as a poet, the influences on her work, her tips for writing, the role of poetry in society and her thoughts on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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Originally Aired: 10/26/2012 

The interview is part of Dialogue’s series “Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference” and was taped at the 2012 conference. Since 1995, the conference has been bringing together some of the world’s most well-known and illuminating authors to discuss literature and life.

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