cover image You and Yours

You and Yours

Naomi Shihab Nye, . . Boa, $22.95 (104pp) ISBN 978-1-929918-69-0

Redemptive moments and struggling households from south Texas to the Middle East dominate the ample, likable latest collection from the prolific Nye (The Space Between Our Footsteps ; Fuel , etc.), whose Palestinian-American heritage forms part of the staging of these poems: "What countries may we/ sing into?/ What lines should we all/ be crossing?" her opening poem asks, and the two halves of her volume provide calm answers. Part one covers Nye's personal experience, at home with her child in San Antonio or as a "Frequent Frequent Flyer" enjoying the sights of Scotland. Witty prose poems alternate with clean-lined, moving verse reminiscent at times of Stanley Kunitz. Part two covers the Middle East with indignity and compassion, considering the blameless citizens for whom "to be able to say/ this is a day and I live in it safely,/ for those I love, was all." Nye has produced several volumes of poetry (and a novel) for children and teens: the careful simplicities (and the attempted optimism) here sometimes keep younger readers in mind. Yet she retains a grownup's sense of our common failings, as when she compares Palestinians in particular, and human beings in general, to flying cranes: "If the ground satisfied their dreams," she muses, "the sky would miss them." (Sept.)