The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye
Date Read: April 30, 2019
Synopsis: Internationally beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye places her Palestinian American identity center stage in her latest full-length poetry collection for adults. The collection is inspired by the story of Janna Tamimi, the “Youngest Journalist in Palestine,” who at age 7 began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests using her mother’s smartphone. Nye draws upon her own family’s roots in a West Bank village near Tamimi’s hometown to offer empathy and insight to the young girl’s reporting. Long an advocate for peaceful communication across all boundaries, Nye’s poems in The Tiny Journalist put a human face on war and the violence that divides us from each other. (from Goodreads)
There’s something about good poetry that pulls you right in, even when it’s painful to read, and doesn’t let you go until you’re finished. That’s how it was with this collection.
Interest Level: 5/5
There’s a great quote in the beginning of the book that says being pro-justice for Palestine is not being anti-Semitic because Palestinians are Semites, as well. People often forget that, just as they often forget about the struggles of people in Palestine. These poems made me cry. I can’t imagine living in those conditions, but people do it every day. Regular people who just want to live their normal lives. But they can’t, and that’s despicable.
- “Separation Wall” (23)
- I ask my grandmother if there was ever a time // she felt like a normal person every day, / not in danger, and she thinks for as long // as it takes a sun to set and says, Yes. / I always feel like a normal person. // They just don’t see me as one.
- “In Northern Ireland They Called It ‘The Troubles'” (25)
- “For Palestine” (27-28)
- What happens to Peace when people fight? / (She hides her face.) / What does she dream of? / (Better people.) / Does she ever give up?
- “Losing as Its Own Flower” (35-37)
- “Mothers Waiting for Their Sons” (39)
- “‘ISRAELIS LET BULLDOZERS GRIND TO HALT'” (40)
- I am mad about language / covering pain / big bandage / making the wound / let let let / but underneath / the hot blood clotting.
- “Shadow” (42)
- “Gratitude List” (49)
- “Better Vision” (62)
- “No Explosions” (64)
- To enjoy / fireworks / you would have / to have lived / a different kind / of life.