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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  33 reviews
"In the current literary scene, one of the most heartening influences is the work of Naomi Shihab Nye. Her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."— William Stafford


where is the name no one answered to

gone off to live by itself

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by BOA Editions Ltd. (first published August 23rd 2011)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  173 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2014, poetry, ebooks
This book of poems is in memory of Nye's father, who passed away shortly before she wrote them. Some of them are actually composed based on pages he had written, with an entire section she attempted in his voice. He was a Palestinian who came to America after losing his home to Israeli occupation, so those themes are prevalent.

My favorites:
When One is So Far from Home, Life is a Mix of Fact and Fiction
(you can see a YouTube version combining imagery from Howl's Moving Castle to the poem read alo
Elizabeth A
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2017
I've read several poems by the author that I've loved, but for some reason my library system didn't have the collection I wanted to read, so I tried this one instead.

This collection is a homage to her father and her grief at his death. There is much here that is universal, and I especially liked the ones that dealt with the immigrant/exiled man her father became after leaving Palestine.

I copied some of the lines into my journal, and there were times I stopped reading because I was stunned by t
Marwa Aldaraweish♛ Aldaraweish♛
The strength of Transfer relies in Naomi Shihab Nye’s attempt to speak for herself, father, mother, family and entire world to memorialize her father’s death for eternity or as long as people can read. In reading Transfer and analyzing some of Nye’s poems, it is almost impossible to read any outside the context of her father’s death. It is also difficult to distinguish between the speaker or poem’s persona and the poet; this notion has marked her poetry with sense of originality, honesty, and in ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This collection is touching without being sentimental, instructive without being didactic, illuminating and at the same time humble. The list of poems in that I enjoyed, and sometimes found myself not only enjoying but thinking about long after a first encounter, is long, including

"Scared, Scarred, Sacred"
"Many Asked Me Not to Forget Them"
"Fifty Years Since I Prayed or Thought in Arabic"
"Where Are You Now?"
"WAR is RAW Backwards and Forwards"

I could probably take issu
Bill DeGenaro
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful and moving cycle of poems by Nye, many about her recently deceased father. Readers meet Aziz Shihab in such intimate ways: some poems use lines from Aziz's journals as titles, some are written in his voice, some are about his final days, and many more capture his lifelong love and longing for Palestine and his gentle ability to talk to his colleagues and friends about the Mideast.
Miranda Hency
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, poetry, favorites
These poems hit me really hard and I felt wildly emotional reading this book. Considering there isn't really a day that I don't think about my own parents' mortality, this collection felt especially personal to me. Along with poems pertaining to her father's death, poems surrounding the conflicts between Israel and Palestine were also poignant and heartbreaking.
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I am never disappointed in her poetry.
Holly Socolow
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book of poetry by an American living treasure, by Naomi Shihab Nye (otherwise known as NSN). I had the great fortune to hear her speak at a local college nearly a year ago and bought three of her books without knowing anything about them other than meeting the author herself who was so full of humanity it spilled over onto everyone she touched.

This is a collection of love poems in tribute to NSN’s father, a Palestinian-born American, who was unceremoniously ousted from his homeland in
Hannah Fenster
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This collection is the best kind of elegy-- it memorializes, refreshes, exposes. With deceptively clear language and phrasing, Transfer captures the deeply personal memory of Naomi Shihab Nye's Palestinian father.

But Transfer also explores the ways in which her father's life reflects the experience of being Arab and Muslim in Palestine and America in recent years. Shihab Nye's words are as direct as they are gentle. Certain poems, like "A Kansas Preacher Called Me Muscleman," keep unfolding for
Vincent Scarpa
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Naomi is, quite simply, a master. These poems are so rich, so important, so lovely. I admire most especially the way in which the poems orbit the tragic loss of her ill father while simultaneously interrogating and excavating the politics of Israel and Palestine (and the US, for that matter) in so doing. An important book of poems that I will revisit time and time again, with so many lines that touched me deeply. Lines like, "Everyone in a body is chosen/for trouble and bliss." Or, my favorite, ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A powerful collection of poems by the Arab-American poet about her relationship with her father and with the Middle East in an age where America has involved itself in two wars in the region for nearly a decade. I would recommend Nye’s book to anyone who enjoys contemporary poetry—not only are her topics timely and pithy, her poetics are overall top-notch and there’s a lot to love about her style of writing. She not only finds the perfect balance between personal narrative and universal experien ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Naomi Shihab Nye is a true Texas Troubador, and plays guitar enough to prove it. But I'm talking about the poems now. She is one of our national treasures. And "Transfer" is a beautiful, slightly haunting, collection about the loss of her father. Something that has not happened to me yet, and yet looms for me, sadly.

There were one-liners that took my head off. She deals head-on with xenophobia, and what it means to have a homeland, while living in exile.

This is a book for quiet nights… when we k
Scott Wiggerman
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Naomi Nye can do no wrong, and this moving tribute to her father (and the dead) is no exception. Some of the poems even use titles provided from her father's notebooks--and are spoken in her father's voice. The bond between daughter and father is strong, loving, and--at times--exasperating, but it's the love that most shines through. As always, the poems intermix the personal and the political with the wisdom Nye seems to write so readily in lines like "There's a way not to be broken / that take ...more
Patti K
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I enjoyed her latest collection of poems. It begins with a series of poems about
her father. He had recently died. She connects with the past and the old country
of Palestine. The poems are very moving and intimate, almost as if the reader
were reading the poet's diaries. She is masterful and never disappoints.
Isla McKetta
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a rawness to this book and to the grief that is very honest, but I almost wanted it all to be one step farther removed. The language is beautiful and I enjoyed learning from the way she wrote.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nye reflects movingly on the loss of her father and on his loss of his homeland (Palestine). Not every poem connected for me, but those that did really stopped me in my tracks.
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Naomi is my favorite poet. Almost all poems in this book were written, I would guess, as a way of grieving for her father and for Palestine.
Chris Austin
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My favorites:
- Thirsty
- The Burn
- Strict
- Moment
- Burlington, Vermont
- We Can't Lose
- WAR is RAW Backwards & Forwards
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Grief, love, and a tribute to her father and displaced Palestinians everywhere.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book from one of my kids, who read it in high school or college. The poems all center on the author's father, and some on his death after a long illness. He is a Palestinian who came to the US as an immigrant or refugee shortly after Israel was formed in the 1940's or 1950's. He married an American, the author's mother, who doesn't figure much in this body of work. The pain passed on to the next generation by the father who lost his much loved home and homeland is palpable. It makes f ...more
Tom Romig
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Her poems can be playful, mournful, nostalgic...but always beautiful. Certainly her Palestinian heritage infuses her work, but her reach encompasses far wider worlds, both exterior and interior. Her poems about her father are full of love and gratitude, dwelling not on loss but on what she had and what she still has of his rich life.
Bethany Reid
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Love, love, love her work. This book is a tribute to her father, the journalist Aziz Shihab. Beautiful and thoughtful.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just read this book for a second time, cover-to-cover, in one sitting. It's a grief-struck elegy to a man we've met in Nye's previous poems--her father. Some of the poems were "found" from notes he scribbled to her in the hopes of co-writing a book. The poems are full of tenderness. They gently expose the ruminations, the marks, the imprints that carved both their lives. How he shaped her by virtue of being Father into a glorious, word-loving poet with one of the biggest hearts I've read, an all ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This book of poems by one of my favorite poets is dedicated to her father, Aziz Shihab, Palestinian, who worked as a journalist in both Palestine and the States.. In the dedication, his daughter writes "What do we say in the wake of one who was always homesick? Are you home now?" Many of these poems are based on sweet memories of him as she grieved and missed him. How fortunate she was to have known him so well. Many of us do not have such a treasure.

I position my head on the pillow
where you tol
Jane Wolfe
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another beautiful book of poetry by Nye.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and brilliant, as ever.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Long one of my favorite poets, this book only endears Naomi Shihab Nye to me even more.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't like to review poetry books. I just like to read them.
Crystal Kelley
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another gorgeous book of poetry from Naomi Shihab Nye that brings me closer to the ground and to people.
I've been reading so much of her poetry lately, and this collection pulled at my heart more than usual. It revolves around many experiences of grief. Having just lost my grandmother, so many of her reflections on the loss of her father resonated-- not directly, but, close enough that I felt seen. Her thoughts on the material, especially, caught me. Cancelling a cell phone? How absurd-- what if he needs to call? This, after we unplugged my grandmother's phone. There are no more calls to be made o ...more
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Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University. She is a novelist, poet and songwriter.

She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Acad

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