Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose
  • Alternative view 1 of Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose
  • Alternative view 2 of Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose

Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose

5.0 2
by Naomi Shihab Nye

See All Formats & Editions

Honey. Beeswax. Pollinate. Hive. Colony. Work. Dance. Communicate. Industrious. Buzz. Sting. Cooperate.

Where would we be without them? Where would we be without one another?

In eighty-two poems and paragraphs, Naomi Shihab Nye alights on the essentials of our time—our loved ones, our dense air, our wars, our memories, our planet—and leaves us


Honey. Beeswax. Pollinate. Hive. Colony. Work. Dance. Communicate. Industrious. Buzz. Sting. Cooperate.

Where would we be without them? Where would we be without one another?

In eighty-two poems and paragraphs, Naomi Shihab Nye alights on the essentials of our time—our loved ones, our dense air, our wars, our memories, our planet—and leaves us feeling curiously sweeter and profoundly soothed.

Editorial Reviews

AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 18.

This small, but powerful collection of poetry and poetic prose loosely memorializes many current events including the war in the Middle East and the disappearance of the honeybees, but it also follows Nye on her personal journeys around the world. Readers are treated to glimpses of locations as diverse as Japan, Scotland, and Texas, and Nye's subject matter is just as varied, from simple childhood memories to thoughts about the nation's president and so much in between. As in her previous books, Nye's work opens readers' eyes to new worlds and experiences and does it with thoughtful simplicity. Many topics, however, are quite sophisticated, and only older teens and adults will be able to grasp the nuances. Poems like "Letters My Prez Is Not Sending" are heart-wrenching but brilliant, whereas "The Crickets Welcome Me to Japan" is light-hearted and sweet. "There Was No Wind," in just a handful of lines, expresses a feeling to which anyone can relate-the strangeness of telling a white lie. A most unfortunate aspect of this book is its packaging. The cover features a childlike rendering of a honeybee that may be very misleading-welcoming children who are too young to appreciate most of the book and repelling older teens who would learn from and enjoy it. Reviewer: Kimberly Paone
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Children's Literature - Karen Leggett
This newest collection of poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye dances all over the landscape, from angry politics to culture to personal space and time. "This is what happens in life. Something takes over your mind for a while and you see other things through a new filter," explains Nye in her introduction. The new filter for this diverse collection is honeybees, especially their mysterious disappearance and the phenomenon of trucking them huge distances to pollinate crops. "If you get rented out, what does that do to your willpower? If you get carted around, what does that do to your radar? I know people who, the minute they get into their homes, tell you where they are going next." Honeybees sneak in and out of the poems, sometimes as a metaphor, sometimes just as bees. She urges readers to calm down, slow down and observe each moment fully. She turns traditional notions of rhymed or even lined poetry upside down, often presenting long-running paragraphs filled with carefully worded images—blog-style poetry, perhaps. Once again, Nye is sometimes cryptic, but always thought-provoking, eye-opening and challenging the status quo. Reviewer: Karen Leggett
Patricia E. Ackerman
Through her practice of being present in each moment, Shihab Nye embarks on a journey of self discovery. This insightful collection of eighty-two poems and prose paragraphs examines cultural diversity and family dynamics set against the purposeful motion of bees. Dynamic patterns of literary insight illuminate the connectedness of all humanity through the eyes of a constantly moving observer. Lighting briefly at precise moments in time, the author departs with newly found insights and a satiated feeling of personal connectedness. Astute imagery draws the reader into Nye's vision of a "shared world" where humans connect with one another, regardless of apparent differences. She demonstrates that in order to experience this phenomenon, individuals must learn to be present through all of their senses, opening themselves to the wonders of human existence. This work embodies Emerson's own literary advice to "adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience." Reviewer: Patricia E. Ackerman
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up- Bees, Nye contends, could clearly teach us humans a thing or two. Though the insects themselves do not appear in all of this collection's 82 pieces (poems are interspersed with short prose pieces), their spirit does. The anthology is a rallying cry, a call for us to rediscover such beelike traits as interconnectedness, strong community, and honest communication. Readers are told that as humans they are at their best when "dipping and diving into the nectar of scenes. Tasting, savoring, and collecting sweetness." Though the poems are obviously told from a distinctively adult vantage point, teens at the very start of their questioning years will recognize their own angst in Nye's sense of irony, their idealistic optimism in her simple wonder. In the hands of a less talented poet, the extended bee analogy could have easily felt awkwardly imposed on such thorny issues as environmentalism, religious intolerance, political leadership, and the casualties of war. Luckily, Honeybee flows from the pen of a master, who has once again created a gem of a collection.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Mixing memory, science and social issues, these selections vary widely in their accessibility and interest. As always, however, Nye's sheer joy in communicating, creativity and caring shine through. The focus shifts continually-from honeybees (champion communicators, threatened species) to the continuing violence in the Middle East to memories of childhood (her own and her son's) to specific situations in which people manage to transcend their differences. These shifts in tone, topic and format require both flexibility and concentration from readers. Rereading, however, is rewarded because of delicate connections and graceful phrases that might be missed the first time through. While much of the work is serious in tone, there are moments of humor also. Most likely to appeal to adults and older teens, this will be warmly welcomed by fans as it offers intriguing glimpses of Nye's personal beliefs and experience. (Poetry. 12+)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Poems & Short Prose

Chapter One

Your Buddy Is Typing

Your buddy in the early hours. Your buddy with the scratchy throat who didn't sleep well. On the other side of the earth he is rising, making a single cup of coffee, sitting down at a small wooden table. Your buddy who hasn't shaved in weeks. Your buddy in Nuevo Laredo missing the old days the easy crossings of borders the wanderings in streets without fear. Your buddy who doesn't want to see any bullets is typing a letter he will not sign. Your buddy with the aching wrist. Your buddy with high hopes watching sun come up over calm water thinking, we'll make it, maybe. Your buddy who sends 17 letters in 14 days. A surge of random observations but nothing is random. No one alone. The bold buddy and the shy one with a closet of stacked pages. The young buddy whose grandfather the great writer has been hiding for years. Your buddy in Japan who wishes your heart to feel like a primrose. Your buddy in Glasgow eating a radish as he types in golden light. Your buddy in a head scarf begging for sense. Your buddy in a sari who bosses the men. Your buddy who types with three fingers like you do. Your buddy in Australia your weary buddy in the airport lounge your buddy in the village library your buddy in the wireless hotel room where even the rod under the clothes lights up your buddy on the brink your buddy who was reminded what words could do after he swore they could do nothing anymore your buddy in Bethlehem who wonders if anyone listens your buddy who is feeling weak your buddy who tells what is really going on behind the scenes your buddy who refuses to back down yourlost buddy who won't speak to you punishing you for reasons unknown even she must be typing to someone else by now, trust in this as you say good-bye give it up, typing will help you get through it no matter where you are when the restaurants close and the little shops you loved bolt their doors for the last time and the artist you wish you'd known better dies suddenly, you grip the memory of minor messages sent back and forth only months ago. Who else should you be typing to right now? Who else is on the way out? All of us. Everyone typing in the late and early in the far reaches in the remote unknowns in the heart of the diagnosis near the fishing huts with Catch of the Day signs the names of fish scrawled on blackboards by the whispering sea.

Someone You Will Not Meet

Rolls her socks into balls,
lines them in a shoebox.

Sharpens a yellow pencil
carefully checking the point.

There used to be plenty of pencils.

Stares into a mirror thinking fat nose, fat nose.

Pins a green bow to her head, plucks it off again.

Worries about loud noises.

Wraps presents in the same crumpled paper
over and over again for members
of her own family.

Gives her brother an orange because
he likes them more than she does.

He complains, I am sick of this life.
She fusses at him, Don't say that.

Gives her mother a handwritten booklet
made of folded papers called
One Apartment.

The people she loves most are in it.
The uncles who come and go are in it.
Lucky ducks.
They are afraid every time they go
but they brave it.

A few cats and plants and rugs are in it,
square television set with a scrappy picture,

and the streams of bees swooping
to the jasmine vine
right outside the window.

They dip into blossoms and fly away.
Never could she have imagined being jealous
of a bee.

She listens to the radio say there will be
more fighting
though no one she knows likes fighting.

Does anyone feel happy after fighting?

It's a mystery.

She chews on a sesame cookie
very very slowly.

Staring at the sesame seeds
she could almost give them

Poems & Short Prose
. Copyright (c) by Naomi Nye . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet and anthologist and the acclaimed author of Habibi: A Novel and Sitti's Secrets, a picture book, which was based on her own experiences visiting her beloved Sitti in Palestine. Her book 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has taught writing and worked in schools all over the world, including in Muscat, Oman. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Honeybee: Poems and Short Prose 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago