Poet, teacher, essayist, anthologist, songwriter and singer, Naomi Shihab Nye is one of the country's most acclaimed writers. Her voice is generous; her vision true; her subjects ordinary people, and ordinary situations which, when rendered through her language, become remarkable. In this, her fourth full collection of poetry, we see with new eyes-a grandmother's scarf, an alarm clock, a man carrying his son on his shoulders. Valentine for Ernest Mann You can't order a poem like you order a taco. Walk up to the counter and say, "I'll take two" and expect it to handed back to you on a shiny plate. Still, I like you spirit. Anyone who says, "Here's my address, write me a poem," deserves something in reply. So I'll tell a secret instead: poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes, they are sleeping. They are the shadows drifting across our ceilings the moment before we wake up. What we have to do is live in a way that lets us find them. Once I knew a man who gave his wife two skunks for a valentine. He couldn't understand why she was crying. "I thought they had such beautiful eyes." And he was serious. He was a serious man who lived in a serious way.
Nothing was ugly just because the world said so. He really liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them as valentines and they became beautiful. At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding in the eyes of skunks for centuries crawled out and curled up at his feet. Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite. And let me know.