Routed Recommends

Here are some of our newsroom’s picks for books, films and series about migration and mobility – and we also made you a playlist with our favourite migration tunes!

Routed Recommends

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19 Varieties of Gazelle

Poem collection by Naomi Shihab Nye. Harper Tempest, New York 2005.

‘We need poetry for nourishment and for noticing, for the way language and imagery reach comfortably into experience, holding and connecting it more successfully than any news channel we could name.’

In her own words above, Naomi Shihab Nye tells us what (her) poetry is all about. Every poem in this collection has its own soul and experience. Her collection of poems seems to encapsulate everything it can mean to be American and Palestinian at the same time.

The stories of her grandmother baking bread, of the man who used to live in Spain, of Mr Dajani who only wanted books, of a strange uncle who disappeared into the mountains and never stopped being missed fill the memories of the writer.  Events have a voice: mobility, war, and loss are no longer numbers in a newspaper but real experiences that happen to real people. She writes about those we leave behind, about life in a refugee camp, accompanied by constant violence, and about family ties that sometimes rip.

With poetic elegance she tries to understand the feelings triggered by war and (collective) grief. She explores all the baggage that makes up an identity. She remembers and tells stories through food, and shows us how food can be the link to a feeling of home. Naomi Shihab Nye shares her innermost experience of (un)belonging and does so in a language soaked with the sorrow of a people.

—Lena Hartz