19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

Naomi Shihab Nye
"Tell me how to live so many lives at once ..."Fowzi, who beats everyone at dominoes; Ibtisam, who wanted to be a doctor; Abu Mahmoud, who knows every eggplant and peach in his West Bank garden; mysterious Uncle Mohammed, who moved to the mountain; a girl in a red sweater dangling a book bag; children in velvet dresses who haunt the candy bowl at the party; Baba Kamalyari, age 71; Mr. Dajani and his swans; Sitti Khadra, who never lost her peace inside.Maybe they have something to tell us.Naomi Shihab Nye has been writing about being Arab-American, about Jerusalem, about the West Bank, about family all her life. These new and collected poems of the Middle East -- sixty in all -- appear together here for the first time.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2016-10-07

This is one of the first verse books that I have read and truly remembered and enjoyed. I was hesitant because the style is very different then what I am used to. As I began reading, I instantly connected with the book. I was able to read through the entire book in a night. I am Syrian American and the issues that the main character deals with hit very close to home. She includes so many aspects of her culture in her writing and I really enjoyed reading about our similar traditions. This is a great book for anyone interested in other cultures or for a multicultural literature class. It is also great in excerpts. The style lends to taking apart the text. I would love to teach this to my students and how them a positive text dealing with Arab Americans.

 

 

Reviewed: 2016-08-16

This was an excellent book. I am a Middle Eastern American that finally found a book to connect my Syrian culture to. I was able to connect with her family and the things she thought of. We are different as well so there were other aspects that I did not understand completely at first. I was more aware of this culture before I read the book, but not compeltely aware so that her writing was dull or something I have experienced before. Her comments on the war were very tasteful. Putting her story and her experiences into a verse book we very unique. If this was done in a typical novel, it would be very political and the imagry that she used to captivate her audience would not be there. It would sound too opinionated. I think this is an excellent book for anyone intersetd in Middle Eastern culture or other political issues around the world.

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