Cast Away: Poems of Our Time (Paperback)

Cast Away: Poems of Our Time By Naomi Shihab Nye Cover Image
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“Nye at her engaging, insightful best.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Acclaimed poet and Young People’s Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye shines a spotlight on the things we cast away, from plastic water bottles to those less fortunate, in this collection of more than eighty original and never-before-published poems. A deeply moving, sometimes funny, and always provocative poetry collection for all ages.

 “How much have you thrown away in your lifetime already? Do you ever think about it? Where does this plethora of leavings come from? How long does it take you, even one little you, to fill the can by your desk?” ?Naomi Shihab Nye

National Book Award Finalist, Young People’s Poet Laureate, and devoted trash-picker-upper Naomi Shihab Nye explores these questions and more in this original collection of poetry that features more than eighty new poems. “I couldn’t save the world, but I could pick up trash,” she says in her introduction to this stunning volume.

With poems about food wrappers, lost mittens, plastic straws, refugee children, trashy talk, the environment, connection, community, responsibility to the planet, politics, immigration, time, junk mail, trash collectors, garbage trucks, all that we carry and all that we discard, this is a rich, engaging, moving, and sometimes humorous collection for readers ages twelve to adult.

Includes ideas for writing, recycling, and reclaiming, and an index.

About the Author


Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent, and she spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. She earned her BA from Trinity University in San Antonio. Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent more than forty years traveling the country and the world, leading writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than thirty books. Her books of poetry for adults and young people include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (a finalist for the National Book Award); A Maze Me: Poems for Girls; Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners; Honeybee (winner of the Arab American Book Award); Cast Away: Poems of Our Time (one of the Washington Post’s best books of 2020); Come with Me: Poems for a Journey; and Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems. Her other volumes of poetry include Red Suitcase; Words Under the Words; Fuel; Transfer; You & Yours; Mint Snowball; and The Tiny Journalist. Her collections of essays include Never in a Hurry and I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven.

Naomi Shihab Nye has edited nine acclaimed poetry anthologies, including This Same Sky: Poems from Around the World; The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems from the Middle East; Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25; and What Have You Lost? Her picture books include Sitti’s Secrets, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, and her acclaimed fiction includes Habibi; The Turtle of Oman (winner of the Middle East Book Award) and its sequel, The Turtle of Michigan (honorable mention for the Arab American Book Award).

Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Award, and "The Betty," from Poets House, for service to poetry, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry-reading series in the country. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials, including The Language of Life with Bill Moyers, and she also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been affiliated with the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin for twenty years and served as poetry editor at the Texas Observer for twenty years. In 2019–20 she was the poetry editor for the New York Times Magazine. She is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets and laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and in 2017 the American Library Association presented Naomi Shihab Nye with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. In 2018 the Texas Institute of Letters named her the winner of the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named the 2019–21 Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. In 2020 she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Book Critics Circle. In 2021 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Naomi Shihab Nye is professor of creative writing-poetry at Texas State University.

Praise For…


“In 80-plus poems, Nye writes conversationally, injecting humor, outrage, and reminiscence. . . . Nye at her engaging, insightful best." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[Nye] challenges readers to become activists and to gain deeper awareness of their surroundings. . . . Her poetic polemic on trash is truly a treasure for readers.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Rich variety and impressive scope. . . . Nye’s beautiful and timely collection [is] filled with haunting, sensory images. A must-have for all poetry collections.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

“A sharp look at what we choose to discard and at our blinkered belief in our right to do so. Yet it’s also gentle, affectionate, and at times subtly funny . . . Young readers looking for an alternative to cli-fi may embrace this thoughtful cli-po.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

“Nye finds inspiration in those things we throw away—as well as in the act of throwing things away and that of picking them up again. . . . Pick up a poem, why don’t you?” — Horn Book Magazine

"Naomi Shihab Nye documents and reflects on the leavings of our existence in keenly observant, probing, unabashed poems.”  — Cooperative Children's Book Center

“Trash is poetic treasure in this intriguing collection of verse by the current Young People’s Poet Laureate. Nye’s keen eye for the small, revealing detail — a comforting pine cone, a lost mitten — encourages us to notice and perhaps write about the odd, stray things that surround us.” — Washington Post



Product Details
ISBN: 9780062907707
ISBN-10: 0062907700
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: February 9th, 2021
Pages: 176
Language: English