The On Being Project

Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye

is a visiting poet all over the world and a professor of creative writing at Texas State University. Her books include 19 Varieties of Gazelle, A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, and Transfer. Her most recent book is Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners.

“Cross That Line”

What lines might we dare to cross, and what songs might we hear, that can deepen our days? Paul Robeson is known and loved for his powerful voice and screen presence. But less known are the struggles he faced as a civil rights activist during McCarthyism — which branded him a communist and prohibited him from traveling to perform for his fans across the globe. His story sparks a poetic ode from Naomi Shihab Nye, and a bracing question for our time.

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“Cross That Line”

“Alive”

From Naomi Shihab Nye, a playful address to characters in a life, in all their intriguing mundanity.

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“Alive”

The Traveling Onion: A Poem

With the metaphor of the humble onion as her guide, Naomi Shihab Nye pens a poem in praise of all the small forgotten miracles of everyday life.

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The Traveling Onion: A Poem

“Two Countries”

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem “Two Countries”

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“Two Countries”

“Isle of Mull, Scotland”

Because by now we know everything is not so green elsewhere. The cities tied their nooses around our necks, we let them without even seeing. Not even feeling our breath soften as clumps of shed wool scattered across days. Not even. This even-ing, balance beam of light on green, the widely lifted land, resonance of […]

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“Isle of Mull, Scotland”

“Refugee Not Always”

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem “Refugee Not Always”

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“Refugee Not Always”

“Member of the Tribe”

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem “Member of the Tribe”

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“Member of the Tribe”

“Kindness”

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem “Kindness”

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“Kindness”

“Endure”

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem “Endure”

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“Endure”