Bly & Nye poster
Texas Nafas Thanks . . .

All whose hard work made a resounding success of this program — our wonderful board of directors and volunteers, and all who came to Austin from across the wide expanse of Texas to attend.

We offer our sincerest gratitude to Naomi Shihab Nye, who graciously declined accepting a stipend for her participation, and to Robert Bly for his ongoing friendship and support of Texas Nafas.

A special thanks goes to David Whetstone and Oliver Rajamani, whose musical accompaniment created the perfect atmosphere for a program of this nature.

. . . for making this program such a wonderful success!

Through the courtesy of the Austin American-Statesman, the following excerpt from their article that helped pave the way to the program's success is offered to provide some background for those who missed the program.

A video of the Robert Bly and Naomi Shihab Nye program produced for television is also available on DVD. Click here for more information.

the audience packs the house
Poems of Sufi mystic reach across the ages (exerpt)

By: Brad Buchholz,
April 13, 2004
Austin American-Statesman, Lifestyle

Rumi is an old-fashioned kind of guy. His message is 750 years old. Yet the man's words are as fresh and affirming as the spring breeze. His spiritual poetry resonates in this modern age, triumphant over all things trivial and superficial and material.

"The morning wind spreads
its fresh smell.
We must get up and take that in,
that wind that lets us live.
Breathe before it's gone."

Rajamani, Nye & Bly on stageRumi was a Sufi mystic and teacher, born in Persia in 1207 A.D., who came of age in what is now southern Turkey. He lived 66 years. He wrote thousands of poems. He wrote so many that most were given a number — say, "1,346" — not a name. Rumi had a habit of creating his poems spontaneously, uttering them aloud, as a companion wrote them down in their moment of creation.

Gamble everything for love,
if you're a true human being.
If not, leave
this gathering.
Half-heartedness doesn't reach
into majesty. . . .

"Rumi's voice honors mystery," says Nye. "Rumi embodies a depth of wisdom that has traveled through the centuries and still resonates with honesty. There is this line — a line we're missing from our daily lives — that's from a Rumi poem called 'Any Chance Meeting'":

In every chance gathering, in
any chance
meeting on the street, there is a
shine, an elegance rising up.

And our many well-wishers reward us . . .

Texas Nafas brought Robert Bly and Naomi Shihab Nye to Austin, and charmed an audience of over 500 with Rumi’s sage and wit and that of other Middle Eastern poets, modern and ancient.

The poetry event with Naomi Shihab Nye and Robert Bly was a remarkably experience for me. . . . There was such richness to the evening—her poetry, his poetry, Rumi's poetry, the passages from Rumi's father, the wonderful musical accompaniment. . . .

Thanks so much for making the experience possible for the Austin community.

David Meischen

I remember at Poetry in the Arts, months ago, you and I talked about the state of poetry in Austin. We were of like minds — what is needed is less "venting" and more craft. . . .

I congratulate you!! You gave a beautiful gift to Austin, and the city responded with enthusiasm. . . .

A thousand and one salaams to you!

Nancy Kenney Connolly

I applaud you and the board members of Texas Nafas. . . . The event was intimate and both Mr. Bly and Mrs. Nye were accessible to the audience. . . . Great, job!

Sharon Moreno
Fredericksburg, TX

My 16 year old son and I were blown away by last night's Rumi poetry reading! Thanks so much to NAFAS for bringing this to Austin. We noticed you were taping the reading. Is there any chance that the tape will be shown on an Access Channel or that it would be available for purchase? I'd love my husband to see it. With many thanks for a spectacular evening!

Juli Fellows

You pulled it of — this was the best night of poetry we've had in Austin in a long, long time! It was a remarkable evening, and I hope to see more! Thank you!

Scott Wiggerman

There were just too many photo-ops after the show to know which direction to look and smile.

Farid just hopes his smile was big enough that no one feels left out, and that the guests who came to the program left with smiles as broad as his own.

If you live in Austin, don't miss the television programs of this reading and other poetry events on Time Warner Cable channel 16, Saturdays at 11:00 AM and 10:00 PM.

Click here for information about the DVD of the Robert Bly and Naomi Shihab Nye program produced for television.

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