Harding University

April 5, 2012

English department to host poetry workshop featuring traveling poet

Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet from San Antonio, will visit Harding University on April 12 as the English department’s 2012 Guest Writer. While on campus, Nye will conduct a poetry workshop from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for local high school students and will perform a public reading of some of her work in Cone Chapel at 7 p.m.

Fifty students from Searcy, Riverview, Harding Academy, Rose Bud, Bald Knob, Beebe and White County Central High Schools will attend the interactive workshop. These students will learn language skills and the communal, social values of poetry from students and faculty of the university’s English department faculty and Nye.

“Nye is so personable, and she makes her presentation a conversation with the audience,” said Dr. John Williams, chair of the English department. “By nature, a lot of poets are reclusive. But she knows how to reach an audience through a pleasant, one-sided conversation. She gives nice little messages about gentleness and peace.”

Nye, the daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, is well known for her 2002 volume, “19 Varieties of Gazelle,” that was nominated for a National Book Award. Nye often draws upon her Arab roots and her international traveling experiences to create poetry that speaks to universal truths about peace and life beyond hatred and violence. In 2010, Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. She has also served as a visiting writer for full semesters at University of Texas at Austin and University of Hawaii.

Nye's public poetry reading is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. John Williams at jewilliams@harding.edu.