Voices in the Air

23 Mar

downloadI picked up an advanced readers copy of Naomi Shihab Nye’s Voices in the Air when I was at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver. I’ve been reading it at school, during independent reading time. Lovely poems reflecting on a variety of  artists, writers, poets, historical figures, and ordinary people.

I heard her speak a number of years ago at a conference. She was wonderfully dynamic and gave us advice I have tried to follow: write three lines everyday.

Imagine my delight when, Sunday night, I was listening to On Being on the radio and Naomi Shihab Nye was the guest. She read and talked about her poetry and her view of the world. Here are some of the bits I gleaned from the program.

  1. You are living in a poem.
  2. Very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse.
  3. Talking about poetry is also talking about how we move through the world.
  4. You have to write things down as they come to you.
  5. When you write things down, you find out what you notice.
  6. You listen to yourself when you go back and look at what you wrote.
  7. Consider reading your children awake when they get older.

If you read nothing else today, read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “Kindness”.


8 Responses to “Voices in the Air”

  1. Elisabeth Ellington March 23, 2018 at 6:41 am #

    I really enjoyed this podcast too and was very excited to spot a copy of Voices in the Air on my shelf in my office–I’d forgotten that I picked it up at NCTE. Of course then I promptly left it there so reading will have to wait until next week. I loved the story of her waking her son up with reading. I am not sure how my son will respond, but I may start reading a poem to him first thing in the morning. A short one! Very short!

  2. Brian Rozinsky March 23, 2018 at 7:01 am #

    This line feels like one of those blinding glimpses of the obvious: “Very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse.” It’s the getting to the writing down that often feels like a steep climb!

  3. Alice Nine March 23, 2018 at 7:51 am #

    So much to ponder in your post! Never thought about this: “Very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse.” So true. Also, I like, ” reading your children awake.” I’m connecting this thought to home and to classroom. And, yes!! “Kindness” is a poem to read and re-read.

  4. elsie March 23, 2018 at 10:07 am #

    I think I will marinate the idea that I am living in a poem. Sounds like a lovely place to be.

  5. franmccrackin March 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm #

    I enjoyed your post and thank you for sharing the list. It is timely for me as I am trying to read, ponder, try and write more poetry. Great #1-7.

  6. arjeha March 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    “Write three lines every day.” definitely doable. I am thinking that some days it would be difficult to stop after just three lines. So much to think about in your post.

  7. Suzanne March 23, 2018 at 7:17 pm #

    “When you write things down, you find out what you notice.” This is so true! Thank you for reminding me that I bought a book of poetry by Ms. Nye at a conference, now I am going to read it!

  8. humbleswede March 23, 2018 at 7:48 pm #

    Thank you for this entry and for sending me to “Kindness.” That is a great poem. I’ve heard Naomi Nye speak, too, and I was struck by the depth of her voice. That adds a lot to what I hear now whenever I read her poems. I love the line in your entry where she says, “When you write things down, you find out what you notice.” So simple, but so important. I’m finding the truth in that this month.

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