Self-described “wandering poet” Naomi Shihab Nye will read as part of Tulane’s Poet Laureate Series on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Lavin-Bernick Center (which, if it’s the same place Robert Hass read last winter, is pretty hard to find, so head over early if you’re not a Tulane student).
“Wandering poet” is a dubious distinction, especially when bestowed upon oneself, but I generally let it slide for Palestinians (okay, okay, some Jews, too) as long as they’ve really wandered a lot. Nye has. The veritable vagabond was born in St. Louis and lived in Ramallah, Jerusalem, San Antonio, and has trekked across six continents giving workshops, lecturing, and generally spreading the love. The poet William Stafford has said that her poems “combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life.”
Nye is the winner of a crapload of impressive awards and distinctions, from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Texas Institute of Letters, among other places. Her books of poems include You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).
Head on over to the Nye reading on Thursday and get some good vibrations.