Rochester, N.Y. — BOA Editions is pleased to announce that internationally beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye will be the guest of honor at this year’s Dine & Rhyme fundraiser gala on Friday, October 4, 2019, at the Rochester Academy of Medicine. Nye is the author of The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions, 2019) and was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in May 2019.
Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent 40 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Her father was a journalist and a Palestinian refugee, and her mother was an American of German and Swiss descent. She grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.
Nye has written or edited more than 30 books of poetry for adults and children. Her most recent poetry collection for adults, The Tiny Journalist, was published in April by BOA Editions. The Tiny Journalist was inspired by the story of Palestinian activist Janna Jihad Ayyad, who began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests in the West Bank at age 7 using her mother’s smartphone and has been called the “Youngest Journalist in Palestine.” Inspired by Ayyad’s social media posts, Nye draws upon her father’s background as a journalist and her family’s roots in a village near Janna’s hometown. Long an advocate for peaceful communication across all boundaries, Nye’s poems in The Tiny Journalist put a human face on war and the violence that divides us from each other.
Nye spoke about these divisions in a March 12 interview with Utah Public Radio. “I grew up in Ferguson, Mo. No one ever heard of it, unless you lived elsewhere in St. Louis County. Then my family moved to Palestine – my father’s first home. A friend says, ‘Your parents really picked the garden spots.’ In Ferguson, an invisible line separated white and black communities. In Jerusalem, a no-man’s land separated people, designated by barbed wire,” said Nye.
The Tiny Journalist has been lauded by critics and readers alike since its publication in April. Diego Báez writing for Booklist says, “Incisive and unsparing, Nye's poems will buzz in readers' brains long after reading them.” Katie Noah Gibson writing for Shelf Awareness says, “[Nye’s] poems are a clarion call to readers to see the violence in Palestine and elsewhere, and to do what they can to work for peace.” Elizabeth Lund writing for The Washington Post calls Nye’s new collection “a moving testament to the impact one person can have and the devastating effects of occupation.”
Nye will read and discuss her new collection at BOA’s annual Dine & Rhyme fundraiser gala. There will also be an audience Q&A followed by a silent auction and a catered reception for guests with a Middle Eastern-inspired meal provided by Julia K Caters. Books will be available for sale and author signing during the reception. All proceeds will benefit BOA Editions, a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works.
Tickets are $75 in advance ($85 at the door). Ticket sales will be available online beginning July 1, 2019, at boaeditions.org/pages/dine-rhyme
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