Naomi Shihab Nye named Young People's Poet Laureate by Poetry Foundation

Jayme Blaschke | June 5, 2019

nye headshot

Naomi Shihab Nye, a professor of creative writing in the Department of English at Texas State University, has been named Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation. 

The Young People's Poet Laureate designation is intended to celebrate a living writer in recognition of their devotion to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. It comes with a $25,000 prize. This two-year-term laureateship promotes poetry to children and their families, teachers and librarians.

Nye will serve her laureateship from 2019 to 2021 with the goal of bringing poetry to geographically underserved or rural communities through readings underwritten by the Poetry Foundation. In addition, every month during her tenure she will recommend a new poetry book for young readers.

Nye is acclaimed as a children’s writer for her sensitivity and cultural awareness, such as in her book "19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East," published just after September 11, 2001, which invites readers to reflect and explore life as an Arab American. Her books of poetry include "A Maze Me: Poems for Girls," "Red Suitcase," "Words Under the Words," "Fuel and "You & Yours." Other works include several prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers, including "Time You Let Me In," "This Same Sky," "The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle East", "What Have You Lost?" and "Transfer." Her collection of poems for young adults titled "Honeybee" won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Her novel for children, "The Turtle of Oman," was chosen both a Best Book of 2014 by The Horn Book and a 2015 Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association. "The Turtle of Oman" was also awarded the 2015 Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature. Her most recent book is "Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners."

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922