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“Nye once again deftly charts the world through verse.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A beautifully constructed, thoughtful, and inspiring collection.”—School Library Journal (starred review)
Young People’s Poet Laureate and National Book Award Finalist Naomi Shihab Nye’s uncommon and unforgettable voice offers readers peace, humor, inspiration, and solace. This volume of almost one hundred original poems is a stunning and engaging tribute to the diverse voices past and present that comfort us, compel us, lead us, and give us hope.
“I think the air is full of voices. If we slow down and practice listening, we hear those voices better. They live on in us. Inspiration? We need it every day. We deserve it. It is essential, like food, water, clean air, shelter. Here are some poems celebrating the voices that have changed my life and continue to do so.”—Naomi Shihab Nye, Award-winning poet and author
Voices in the Air is a collection of almost one hundred original poems written by the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye in honor of the artists, writers, poets, historical figures, ordinary people, and diverse luminaries from past and present who inspire her and us. Full of words of encouragement, solace, and hope, this collection offers a message of peace and empathy.
Voices in the Air focuses on the inspirational people who strengthen and motivate us to create, to open our hearts, and to live rewarding and graceful lives. With short informational bios about the influential figures behind each poem, and a transcendent introduction by the poet, this is a collection to cherish, read again and again, and share with others.
Featuring black-and-white spot art throughout, as well as brief bios of the “voices,” an index, and an introduction by the author.
Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent, and she spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. She earned her BA from Trinity University in San Antonio. Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent more than forty years traveling the country and the world, leading writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages.
Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than thirty books. Her books of poetry for adults and young people include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (a finalist for the National Book Award); A Maze Me: Poems for Girls; Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners; Honeybee (winner of the Arab American Book Award); Cast Away: Poems of Our Time (one of the Washington Post’s best books of 2020); Come with Me: Poems for a Journey; and Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems. Her other volumes of poetry include Red Suitcase; Words Under the Words; Fuel; Transfer; You & Yours; Mint Snowball; and The Tiny Journalist. Her collections of essays include Never in a Hurry and I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven.
Naomi Shihab Nye has edited nine acclaimed poetry anthologies, including This Same Sky: Poems from Around the World; The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems from the Middle East; Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25; and What Have You Lost? Her picture books include Sitti’s Secrets, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, and her acclaimed fiction includes Habibi; The Turtle of Oman (winner of the Middle East Book Award) and its sequel, The Turtle of Michigan (honorable mention for the Arab American Book Award).
Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). 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, the Robert Creeley Award, and "The Betty," from Poets House, for service to poetry, 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-reading series in the country. 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, including The Language of Life with Bill Moyers, and she also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been affiliated with the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin for twenty years and served as poetry editor at the Texas Observer for twenty years. In 2019–20 she was the poetry editor for the New York Times Magazine. She is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets and laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and in 2017 the American Library Association presented Naomi Shihab Nye with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. In 2018 the Texas Institute of Letters named her the winner of the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named the 2019–21 Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. In 2020 she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Book Critics Circle. In 2021 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Naomi Shihab Nye is professor of creative writing-poetry at Texas State University.
“A rich collection of poems celebrating diverse lives. ...Asking tough questions and demonstrating the beauty of the voices on the fringe, Nye once again deftly charts the world through verse: not to be missed.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Nye frames the collection ever so clearly, first with the title, second with the subtitle, and third with her masterly written introduction. Her intentionality is palpable but never contrived. ...A beautifully constructed, thoughtful, and inspiring collection...A vital addition to poetry collections.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“With her trademark conversational style, [Nye] feels like the sister you wish you had: warm, curious and insightful. ...The poems in this collection are suffused with humor and thoughtfulness...Teen readers will love the gentle intensity of Nye’s words and messages and the accessibility of her poetry. Beautiful.” — Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Inspired and guided by the voices that surround her...Nye’s free verse tells of the wisdom, solace and beauty she has found and urges readers to join her...Nye displays a palpable, unwavering empathy and hope for a better world.” — New York Times Book Review
“Nye delivers graceful dedications and intimate recollections, playful musings and sharp rebukes. ...there’s no doubt that Nye’s nimble, clear-eyed, and quietly political poems—supplemented by meticulous biographical notes—may make an avid listener out of anyone.” — ALA Booklist
“[Nye] honors new world freedoms and old world traditions and celebrates youth without discounting childhood’s haphazard impulsiveness. ...Nye’s thought-provoking and timely collection will serve as a gentle invitation to use poems as tools for making sense of a world in crisis and explaining the strangeness of everyday lives.” — Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Taken in sequence, the poems lead the reader through a natural and profound emotional progression. As much as the poems function as windows into their subjects, together they offer a sort of self-portrait of the poet herself, painted in negative space.” — The Horn Book
“’Can we go outside and listen?’ Naomi Nye ponders in her introduction. Or stay in. Reflect. Pay. Attention. If we do we’ll find there is no such things as a too-small moment or memory. ...Nye is, above all, a poet of hope and heartening. ...Thank you, Naomi.” — Cooperative Children’s Book Center
“The poems are moving when read aloud, but Nye is also asking readers to take part in a more profound and subtle type of listening, a kind that cuts through the noise and hears what matters.” — Publishers Weekly
“Like happiness itself, Nye’s poems steal up on us and take us by surprise. This collection, especially, encourages listening: to nature, to other voices, and to the whispers of our own hearts. ...Brimming with affection, wit and optimism, these are poems we truly need right now. A+” — Cleveland Plain Dealer