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A Library Talk, with Turtles

Naomi Shihab Nye’s newest novel, The Turtle of Oman, was just published, and Naomi is on the road talking about it. And writing poems about the experience.


Library Audience


There’s a gentle young man in a black shirt

who didn’t listen very well

when he was in middle school

but wants to listen better.

Now I know, he says, I hope to be a writer.

I didn’t know that then. What should I do?

There’s a boy with an iPad who won’t lift his gaze

but follows his mother who says he’s very creative.

At first they are my only people and I know

we will have a good time. Then a bouncy mom enters

with four kids in tow and Tony, age 7, ready to ask

if writing my book was hard but also, do I know how

to make bricks? There’s a gracious woman from a book club

who says she rushed her lunch to get here and wishes she

brought the whole club. There’s a librarian who fills in the back row

for honor’s sake and a few random women drifting in late

and it’s a sweet sense of people who will never again

be in the same room together, and I love it, and don’t wish for more.

This is my destiny. And afterwards a rough-looking fellow,

ripped jeans sagging off thin hips, FEAR GOD tattoo

streaking his arm, browsing the table of tiny turtles

I brought for display, holding them one by one, saying,

These are really cool, I was sitting at the computers,

I heard every word you said, and

it was true.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, novelist, and anthologist. She has taught writing and worked in schools all over the world. The Turtle of Oman is now available everywhere.





One Comment

  1. S.P.Rose says:

    Saw a request from Martha Mihalick at MS Wishlist:

    “You know what else is on my submission wish list? A Katharine Hepburn/Cary Grant style smart, witty (& literary) romance.”

    That is as close to a perfect fit for my m/s as I will ever find,
    would like to send her a submission but her website does not have contact information.

    Can you please provide?

    Thank you in advance.

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