Naomi Shihab Nye


Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12th, 1952, making her 62 years old. She is a poet, a songwriter, and a novelist. Her father was Palestinian, and her mother was American, and her home is located in San Antonio, although she travels much. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and in her teen years lived in Ramallah, Palestine; the Old City in Jerusalem; and San Antonio, Texas. She has won four Pushcart Prizes, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Jane Addams Children's Book award, best book citations from the American Library Association, and many more. In the summer of 2009, she was honored with the description as being one of PeaceByPeace.com's first peace heros. She was also named the laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature. She has published many works, including poems, novels, short stories, and some discography.
Poetry Out Loud - "Famous" by Naomi Shahib Nye


"The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,

which knew it would inherit the earth

before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom

is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,

more famous than the dress shoe,

which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it

and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men

who smile while crossing streets,

sticky children in grocery lines,

famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,

or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,

but because it never forgot what it could do."

Do you want to be famous?
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Being famous does not mean red carpets, one's name in lights, Hollywood, TV shows, and everyone knowing your name. It can mean being important to someone or something, and that is enough. In the words of Brandi Snyder, "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world." Just never forget what you can do and what you are capable of, because something small can change the world.
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