Facts about Naomi Shihab Nye

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The article, Facts about Naomi Shihab Nye will unfold some interesting and inspiring facts about Naomi Shihab Nye. She is one of the greatest contemporary writers and poets. Naomi Shihab Nye was born in Washington, D.C., on April 23, 1950, to Palestinian immigrants from the Galilee region. She lived her entire childhood in the U.S.. However, she returned to the Middle East to study at Friends World College in Ramallah and Jerusalem. Later she studied at the American University of Beirut, where she earned her BFA in English literature.

Early Life and Achievements

Though she was born in Tucson, Arizona, she grew up in a small village in Jordan with her mother, grandmother, and siblings. After returning to America at age 12, her family moved from New York to California. During college, she began publishing poetry and writing plays. When Naomi was born, it was part of Mexico. She also moved to Hawaii, Kansas, and California as a child. She grew up in an Arab-American family in Washington State, received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and earned her MFA from the University of California at Irvine, where she taught for 25 years.

An Influential Teacher

That’s right, one of our most celebrated poets is not only a former administrator but also a former professor. From 1982 to 1989, she taught English at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. After a decade away from academia, she returned to teaching for two years at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Soon after, she became a Professor of Creative Writing at The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Of course, now she writes poetry full-time – and she looks great doing it!

Other Facts about Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. Naomi has published more than 30 books of poetry, nonfiction, and children’s literature, which have been translated into 20 languages, earned numerous awards and appeared in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks.
  2. She is an American poet, author, educator, and civil rights, activist.
  3. Naomi Shihab authored over 50 books; she is a sought-after speaker who champions social justice. 
  4. Naomi was born to Palestinian immigrant parents.
  5. Naomi was born in Seattle to parents who had emigrated from Palestine. Her father’s family originally hails from Nazareth and Bethlehem, while her roots are in Jaffa and Safed. Since she is a U.S. citizen by birthright, she is technically not considered an immigrant herself. 
  6. She spent her childhood mostly in Lebanon after her father died when she was young.
  7. Her mother died when she was ten years old.
  8. She published her first book at age 19.
  9. Going through a poetry phase in high school, she got a $100 check for her first book, Look and See.
  10. Some of her famous poems include “Famous,” “Kindness,” “Streets,” “The Flying Cat,” “Many Asked me not to Forget Them,” “Making a Fist,” and “How to Paint a Donkey.”
  11. The best thing about her writings is that she connects her readers with her distinct ideas by taking up ordinary things as subjects of her writings. 

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