What Have You Lost?


What have you lost? A friend? A brother? A wallet? A memory? A meaning? A year?

Each Night


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What have you lost? A friend? A brother? A wallet? A memory? A meaning? A year?

Each Night

dream news,
flash then fade.
These darkened walls.

Here, I say.
Climb into this story.
Be remembered!

Jay Bremyer

00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council, 2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), 00 Riverbank Review Magazine's Children's Books of Distinction Award Nominations, Winner 2000 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and 01 Riverbank Review Magazine's Children's Books of Distinction Award Nominations

A collection of poems that explore all kinds of loss.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Young readers in the throes of realizing the infinite possibilities of loss are bound to connect with these 140 dynamic poems.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Young readers in the throes of realizing the infinite possibilities of loss are bound to connect with these 140 dynamic poems.
Horn Book Magazine
In her thought-provoking introduction, the anthologist-poet considers loss-its certainty, scope, and effect, and its ability to give rise to art. The topic is thoroughly explored by the one hundred and forty poets whose work is collected here in twenty-two unlabeled, thematically arranged sections. The poems focus on specific losses, including those we experience as we grow up, leave home or homeland, fall in love, grow old; what we suffer when someone dies suddenly-or slowly; what we're deprived of by acts of violence and anger; and losses accrued through travel and distance. The poets are all contemporary, with a dozen or so hailing from outside the United States. That the great majority are previously unpublished or at least relatively unknown (contributors include a software engineer, a sportswriter, and a priest) should intrigue and encourage reader-writers: established poets obviously don't have a monopoly on publishable, memorable poems. Young adults, finding their way and wanting so much, will appreciate this collection about losing-and regaining-oneself through the experience of loss. Accompanying the poems are mostly affectless black-and-white portraits whose inclusion is puzzling. Notes on contributors include their thoughts on the question "What have you lost and found?"; indexes (not yet seen) will handily include an "index of losses."
Jessica Roeder
Nye does not reprint old favorites or the overanthologized. All of the poets represented here are contemporary. Most write in free verse. Some have not published before.... Readers will want to spend time with this anthology, stopping to think, to reread&#151and to write.... What Have You Lost? encourages readers to pick up a pen themselves.
— Riverbank Review
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
This hard-hitting collection of over 100 mostly brief, contemporary poems, challenges us to reflect on the many possible losses in our lives, and in the world around us. The over 100 poets, representing a variety of ethnic groups, shares losses both dramatic, like the loss of a loved one, to subtle, like the loss of certain memories. Striking black and white photo/portraits add to the rather quirky appeal of this book, which could inspire kids to write about their own losses, or to engage in lively discussions. An especially appealing aspect of the book is the extensive notes section on the many contributors, most of whom seem to be adult, rather than children's poets. And introduction, and indexes of poets, poems and losses are included.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-"Loss" may seem a curious subject around which to center a collection of poetry, but this fine anthology feels absolutely natural. Lost memories, lost relationships, regret-each poem pierces and then releases readers, who pocket a new treasure at the end of each page. Naomi Nye has brought together over 100 selections from well-known adult poets as well as from those who are new or not widely published, from around the world. Notes on the contributors include quotes from the poets about their lives and work. Jennifer Weinblatt says, "Teenagers are often accused of melodrama, but there is a lot of genuine drama inherent in the teenage years...," and this sensibility permeates the collection. Michael Nye's black-and-white photographic portraits are as inventive and speak as much as the poems; in fact, they work best if viewed as independent works of art, instead of as illustrations. They add to the precise design of the book, on whose pages the words "What Have You Lost?" "What Have You Found?" float like random, ghostly reminders. As with Ruth Gordon's collection, Pierced by a Ray of Sun (HarperCollins, 1995), and Liz Rosenberg's Earth-Shattering Poems (Holt, 1995), What Have You Lost? puts into the hands of young adults new poems that speak to that intensely lonely, but consciousness-exploding time when they find themselves "Lost again,/where the world begins" (John Brandi's "Wilderness Poem").-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
From 140 contemporary poets, many of whom have never been published, Nye (The Space Between Our Footsteps, 1998, etc.) gathers observations, ruminations, and informal prose comments on the theme of loss: from clothing or a thought, to deaths of friends and family members, of innocence, time, opportunities, pride, a homeland. The selections are all free verse, direct of address, virtually free of obscure imagery or difficult language, most, but not all, originally written in English. Although the general tone is understandably lugubrious, made more so by Michael Nye's array of harshly naturalistic black-and-white portraits, some poets respond to the question of the title question more positively: "I take myself back, fear./You are not my shadow any longer./I won't hold you in my hands." This is heavy reading, but it documents a universal experience in ways that are thought-provoking. (index, not seen) (Poetry. 12-15) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380733071
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 476,930
  • Age range: 13 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

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.

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Read an Excerpt


This is to poems that get
lost in the dark,

poems that flutter
away, white moths
just out of reach,
camouflaged against
rough plaster of
bedroom ceiling,
little bumps and
patterns of branches cast by light from streetlamps,
neighbors' windows,
sometimes the

In that criss-crossed and
curtained glow
you only see them
when they move.
To grab is
to crush and keep
them earthbound, snow
of bitter wing dust on
your hands and
fine as the powder of poems
lost in time, slipped
in among old papers
tossed away, whispers
that now annoy the hair on
the back of your head like a
strand of spider web
you brushed
one high school night,
still sticky with the first
line of your
first poem, caught,
then struggling free:

"Trees and shadows of trees. . . "

Jim Natal

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    Find Yourself in 'What Have You Lost'

    Naomi Shihab Nye puts together the most incredible poems that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Ranging from the trivial loss of a shoe, to the loss of a loved one or losing one's innocence, this book is my very favorite, and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to find anything that they have lost.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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