Red Suitcase

Red Suitcase

by Naomi Shihab Nye

A collection of poetry with Palestine as the backdrop.  See more details below


A collection of poetry with Palestine as the backdrop.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Here Nye's (Yellow Glove) poems travel from American attics to the rutted roads of Palestine. Most focus on details of daily life; throughout, the narrator maintains an obsession with letters, the only object able to journey safely between discrete worlds. Some letters, like that in ``Sincerely,'' arrive humbly, ``having lost faith of finding/ either name written on it.'' The more passionate letters in ``Saved'' are burnt before a lover and turn to ash. Other poems explore memory; ``Lullaby for Regret'' does full justice to the ``thin sliver/ that needles my wake.'' Nye writes quietly. Her cool distance is her best talent, for when she approaches charged topics like conflict and death, she tends to offer unsatisfying metaphors and puny images. Her discourse on war, ``For the 500th Dead Palestinian, Ibtisam Bozieh,'' rings hollow, from title to conclusion. ``Shoulders,'' the final poem, strains to carry both a child and the book on its back, and its invocation to children as ``the world's most sensitive cargo'' is rote. Nye's strength is her ability to express subtle emotions; weightier issues overwhelm her small, clear voice. (Oct.)
Another lovely collection by this poet who was not only mentored by the late William Stafford, but shows always a similar humility, and receives similarly the affection of legions of students and readers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Pat Monaghan
Palestine forms the backdrop for this book, as it does for immigre poet Nye's life. Some of her most powerful poems deal with her native land's continuing search for peace and the echoes of that search that resound in an individual life. Nye is a fluid poet, and her poems are also full of the urgency of spoken language. Her direct, unadorned vocabulary serves her well: "A boy filled a bottle with water. / He let it sit. / Three days later it held the power / of three days." Such directness has its own mystery, its own depth and power, which Nye exploits to great effect.

Product Details

Consortium Book Sales & Dist
Publication date:
American Poets Continuum Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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