19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Hardcover, 2002



Local notes

811 Nye



Greenwillow (2002), 142 pages. Purchased in 2016. $16.89.


Nineteen poems about the Middle East and about being an Arab American living in the United States.


Original language


Physical description

142 p.; 5 inches


0060504048 / 9780060504045



User reviews

LibraryThing member readingthruthenight
19 Varieties of Gazella is a book of poetry written about the middle east: the struggles, the food, the beliefs, but mostly the people. I think that this is more "my kinda" poetry book. Each poem is vivid, but not embedded in so many poetic devices that my mind wanders trying to decipher its meaning.

I only wish that I knew more about the Middle East. I think that it would have made an already enjoyable book moreso.… (more)
LibraryThing member rpanek
This is a collection of poetry that consists of over four dozen poems about the Middle East and about being an Arab American living in the United States. In this book, an Arab American girl shares her feelings, views, and struggles post 9/11. I think this is a great book to use when studying history and cultures.
LibraryThing member tpedroza
An intimate voice guides us into the world of being both Arab and American in the 21st century. The customs and cultures of the Middle East do not blend seamlessly with those in the U.S. How can we understand each other? How will relationships between these two cultures heal after the terror of terrorism?
LibraryThing member DayehSensei
This is a beautiful collection of poems about various Middle East subjects by Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab-Nye. No library poetry collection is complete without a copy of this book on the shelves.
LibraryThing member jdg1399
VOYA Based Ratings
5Q 2P

Nye's poetic voice does a great job slowing the world down for close inspection. These poems are full of insights into family, history, and the rich cultural traditions of various places in the Middle East. It might take an introduction and a young person who already like language and poetry, but this book of poems would be a wonderful collection to read. Poems that struck me included: Jerusalem Headlines 2000, Lunch in Nablus City Park, The Garden of Abu Mahmoud, and The Man Who Makes Brooms.… (more)
LibraryThing member bnhays
LibraryThing member HepzebahRoland
Gorgeous poetry that defies categorization. The poetry illuminates the beauty of middle east and lends a rare inside view of what it feels like to be Arab American.
LibraryThing member kakramer
5Q 3P
Nye's poetry collection paints a picture of a middle eastern family, bringing the middle east to the US, and an immigrant family back to visit the middle east. The word choice and descriptions really capture the feel and culture, as well as the difficulties and dangers people are faced with in the war-torn country. The size, structure, and topics vary from poem to poem, sometimes focusing on something simple, such as a fig tree, and other times focusing on something more profound, such as prayer, or family.… (more)
LibraryThing member sarahtaylor3
Wonderfully heartfelt poems about the Middle-East, relating from her own experiences, family relations and events that have occurred in the Middle-East. Relating traditions of the culture, from hospitality, to religion to personal relationships and feelings, Namoi Shihab Nye gives us a wonderful and strong example of what Arabs and Arab-Americans are truly like- human just like everyone else- not the minority that are shown on the news.… (more)
LibraryThing member estradav
5Q, 3P

This collection is exceptional and I found myself bookmarking more than one poem for future reference. Her descriptive interpretation of the many voices and characters you'll find in the Middle East are honest and sincere. I felt as if I were transported to this far away place and was being introduced to them all. I even imagined the taste of a juicy sweet fig.… (more)
LibraryThing member sbballard
This is a lovely collection of powerful poetry. My impression is that it is a fairly small group of teens that read a lot of poetry. I hope I'm wrong. Readers will find many gems that will speak to them directly, regardless of their culture or religion. Covering topics from memories of her grandmother to traveling to the West Bank and reflecting on the difference between the value placed on books in the US and the Middle East, the author has a strong authentic voice.… (more)
LibraryThing member HollyHerndon
4Q, 3P (my VOYA codes) 19 Varieties of Gazelle is a collection of poems that elucidate the Arab-American experience. The poems use language carefully, painting pictures for the reader, especially about Muslim life in the U.S. and the Middle East. To me, reading this collection was a very satisfying experience, I ate these poems like delicious bites of food. Almost anyone could relate to the characters and feelings in these poems, and they have particular resonance for young adults with Arab backgrounds.

I chose a 5Q for quality because the poetry is packed with emotion and evokes powerful, complete imagery. For popularity, I chose a 3P, because many young adults may not be excited to read a book of poetry. I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of YA preferences, but I have a feeling that many (unfortunately) believe they do not like poetry.
… (more)
LibraryThing member NigeltheKid
5Q 3P

This anthology of poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye is a look at religious traditions, war, peace, beauty, gender, and other topics through the eyes of an Arab-American poet. Despite the seriousness stance of these poems, not all are serious. Rather, every poem is a unique examination of the subject in question, wrapped in euphony.

The only reason this anthology received 3 popularity points is because--tragically--many American teens will find it difficult to identify with the voice and the content of the Middle East. With some urging, this anthology will be enjoyed.
… (more)
LibraryThing member kberryman44
This is a beautiful collection of poems from a perspective I do not often read. I do not know much about the Middle East, but Nye has provided me with new perspective on her homeland via beautiful and rich poetry. While the book is too old for my students (pre-k), I would suggest this book for high school students interested in poetry and/or women's perspectives of the Middle East.… (more)
LibraryThing member sethwilpan
Earthy, visceral, graceful poems that explore the poet's connection to her Middle Eastern heritage.
LibraryThing member C.Davidson
5Q, 3P. This collection of poems of the Middle East was stunning. I do not usually sit and read through a book of poetry, but this one had me hooked starting from the introduction (I don't often read those either). Such compassionate and moving poems about family, cultural identity and assimilation, Israel and Palestine, war and peace, and love of humanity. An important book for fostering understanding of Middle Eastern culture and peoples.… (more)




(69 ratings; 4)
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