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19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Published by Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2002
142 pages
ISBN: 0-06-009765-5

Age 12 and older

Nye is a prominent poet for adults, as well as a highly regarded anthologist for teenagers. Her newest volume contains 57 of her own poems written about the Middle East and about being an Arab American, collected here with young readers in mind. Most are very short. All involve impassioned images: people, aromas, happenings. In the title poem Nye writes, "For years the Arab poets used 'gazelle' / to signify grace / but when faced with a meadow of leaping gazelle / there were no words . . . What else had we seen in our lives? / Nothing better . . . 'Don't bother to go there,' said a man at our hotel. 'It's too far.' / . . . There is no gazelle in today's headline . . . " Her poem dated September 11, 2001, ends, "Peace is rough." Nye knows this, and yet she doesn't give up. Neither will her young readers, because her belief in all people shines through in her exquisite poetry. CCBC Categories: Poetry.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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