The Poetry Foundation Names Naomi Shihab Nye the New Young People’s Poet Laureate

Like a favorite song you haven’t heard in years, poetry has a way of sticking around in your mind, popping up when you least expect it. Poetry finds its way into so many places in a child’s life, from books and nursery rhymes to song lyrics and fairy tales, so it’s easy to see why it’s so well received by young readers.

With this in mind, the Poetry Foundation, an independent literary group committed to celebrating poetry and getting it in front of the largest possible audience, highlights writers who are not only creating exceptional work, but also building opportunities for young bibliophiles to access and discover poetry. Writer, poet, teacher, and current Young People’s Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye is continually recognized for her work and accomplishments in reaching readers from different regions and backgrounds. Nye, the first Arab American to hold the position, has proven her ability to craft writing and poetry that so clearly describes shared human experiences and effortlessly connects with readers from children to adults.

Poetry Foundation: Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye

Most notably, “You and Yours” is a best-selling collection of poems featuring ordinary individuals living in drastically different environments. Nye’s novel for children, “The Turtle of Oman,” was chosen by the American Library Association as a Notable Children’s Book and her collection, “19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East,” was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent collection of poems, “The Tiny Journalist,” was published in April 2019. Nye is currently a professor of creative writing and poetry at Texas State University.

As the Young People’s Poet Laureate, Nye will recommend a poetry book for young lyricists each month, starting in August 2019. She will have opportunities to connect with children, young adults, and families who have not been able to experience poetry. Focusing on individuals in remote or limited areas, Nye will introduce poetry through readings, unlocking potential poets and readers while expanding the goal of the Poetry Foundation.

The 2019 Foundation Awards also celebrate poet Marilyn Nelson, recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, honoring the achievements of a living poet in the United States. Author Terrance Hayes has been selected to receive the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism for his book “To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight.” The Pegasus Award Ceremony will be held on June 10, 2019, in Chicago.

Poetry Foundation: Marilyn Nelson
Marilyn Nelson (Photo by Curt Richter.)
Poetry Foundation: Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes (Photo by Kathy Ryan.)

Please visit the Poetry Foundation online to learn more details about the Foundation Awards, read collections from award winning poets, including Naomi Shihab Nye and keep up to date with the selected Poem of the Day!