Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners

Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners

Acclaimed and award-winning poet, teacher, and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye’s uncommon and unforgettable voice offers readers peace, humor, inspiration, and solace. This volume of almost one hundred original poems is a stunning and engaging tribute to the diverse voices past and present that comfort us, compel us, lead us, and give us hope.Voices in the Ai...

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Title:Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners
Author:Naomi Shihab Nye
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Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners Reviews

  • Jeanie Phillips

    Loved this collection of poems by a favorite poet! There are many many favorites in these pages and I can envision using them with students in a variety of ways. And the final version promises illustrations I've not even seen yet... can't wait to own a hard back copy.

    Some of the poems are love poems to beloved poets: Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Mary Oliver, Lucille Clifton and so many more. My absolute favorite of these is about visiting John O'Donahue's home shortly after his death.

    Some of t

    Loved this collection of poems by a favorite poet! There are many many favorites in these pages and I can envision using them with students in a variety of ways. And the final version promises illustrations I've not even seen yet... can't wait to own a hard back copy.

    Some of the poems are love poems to beloved poets: Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Mary Oliver, Lucille Clifton and so many more. My absolute favorite of these is about visiting John O'Donahue's home shortly after his death.

    Some of the poems express gratitude to writers and artists: John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Joni Mitchell and many others. My absolute favorite: an ode to Vera B. Williams, author of the masterful picture book A Chair for My Mother.

    And then there are poems to activists and ordinary humans like me, illuminating our experiences beautifully. Here is the one I plan to learn by heart:

    Next Time Ask More Questions

    Before leaning into something, remember

    the span of time is long and gracious.

    No one perches dangerously on any cliff

    till you reply. Is there a pouch of rain

    desperately thirsty people wait to drink from

    if you say yes or no? I don't think so.

    Never embrace "crucial" or "urgent" - maybe for them?

    Those are not your words.

    Hold your horses and your mania and your

    Hong Kong dollar coins in your pocket.

    I'm not a corner or a critical turning page.

    Wait. I'll think about it.

    This pressure you share is a fantasy, a misplaced hinge.

    Maybe I'm already where I need to be.

    The poems about refugees and victims of violence broke my heart wide open. And those about doing what can be done in these troubling times were a balm. I will return to this collection often.

  • Ron

    Have always loved Naomi Shihab Nye after discovering her at a reading at the Art Institute in Chicago. This new collection really blew me away - fresh, robust, thought provoking. This is one I will be revisiting over time. She touches on themes of our current culture without ramming them down your throat. Her poems about central figures from her interests in music, literature, and religion are downright inspiring, and will prompt you to learn more about those you might not be familiar with.

  • Tricia

    From the poem Small Basket of Happiness: “It would never call your name./But it would be waiting somewhere close,/perhaps under a crushed leaf/turned from pale green to gold/with no fanfare…You would slow down a minute./ You would bend.” Like happiness itself, Nye’s poems steal up on us and take us by surprise. This collection, especially, encourages listening: to nature, to other voices, and to the whispers of our own hearts. Without ever being heavy-handed, the poems urge readers to turn away

    From the poem Small Basket of Happiness: “It would never call your name./But it would be waiting somewhere close,/perhaps under a crushed leaf/turned from pale green to gold/with no fanfare…You would slow down a minute./ You would bend.” Like happiness itself, Nye’s poems steal up on us and take us by surprise. This collection, especially, encourages listening: to nature, to other voices, and to the whispers of our own hearts. Without ever being heavy-handed, the poems urge readers to turn away from life’s endless distractions and attend to the timeless. “A peony has been trying to get through to you”. Brimming with affection, wit and steadfast optimism, these are poems we truly need right now.

  • Dianna Rostad

    A beautiful collection of poems!

  • Ashley

    I want to memorize the introduction and recite it to everyone I know.

  • Jacque

    Shihab Nye‘s one and two liners of pocket wisdom are everywhere in this book. I’m new to reading books of poetry cover to cover and am still developing an appreciation for them. Like sips of complex wine, each poem needs time to develop on the palate and reveal themselves to you. I learned to reread and reread and pause and reflect then reread again in a way I haven’t practiced since college. These poems are of invisible and lost things, things that have moved past and moved on. They’re about st

    Shihab Nye‘s one and two liners of pocket wisdom are everywhere in this book. I’m new to reading books of poetry cover to cover and am still developing an appreciation for them. Like sips of complex wine, each poem needs time to develop on the palate and reveal themselves to you. I learned to reread and reread and pause and reflect then reread again in a way I haven’t practiced since college. These poems are of invisible and lost things, things that have moved past and moved on. They’re about stopping and seeing and listening to those things with love, curiosity, and an open heart.

  • Mary-Stuart Murray

    What a lovely book of poetry. Naomi really writes with feeling, and I love how so many of her poems are dedicated to those whom she loves or admires. Sometimes her phrases and words would make my heart glow and goosebumps rise on my arms. She really has a way with words. I wish I could hear her read her poems a loud.

  • Pam

    If you like poetry, you can't go wrong with anything by Naomi Shihab Nye.

  • Rachel Strolle

    File under: I'm trying to be a poetry person, but I think novels in verse are as close as I can get

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