A rich collection of poems celebrating diverse lives.
Poet and National Book Award finalist Nye (19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, 2005, etc.) here showcases a variety of largely contemporary vantage points. In the prose introduction to this collection of over 90 free-verse poems, Nye invites teen readers to take a break from the lure of digital devices, asking, “With so much vying for our attention, how do we listen better?” and gently reminding all that “quiet inspiration may be as necessary as food, water, and shelter.” Inspiration for Nye here often comes from the crossing of cultures and results from the consummate attention she pays to the slightest of natural phenomena (“never say no to peonies”) alongside such grave societal ills as the displacement or disenfranchisement of whole peoples, whether happening in Gaza, Baghdad, or Ferguson. Using thoughts from a number of famous literary and historical figures as springboards, Nye presents political issues with ease, seeking always to “translate us / all into a better world,” as when she movingly describes the plight of the refugee in “Arabs in Finland”: “What they left to be here, / in the cold country, / where winter lasts forever, / haunts them in the dark.”
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. (biographical notes) (Poetry. 13-17)