Naomi Shihab Nye is a self-proclaimed wanderer.

The award-winning songwriter, poet, essayist, and educator has wandered her way across Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Middle East and the United States, producing more than 30 volumes of poetry and inspiring countless artists along the way.

Her next journey will bring her to Bay Shore High School on Thursday, Sept. 22, where she will share her experiences with over 600 students and lead two intensive writing workshops with Bay Shore’s aspiring young authors. 

The Writers Series is funded by a multi-year grant from the Bay Shore Schools Arts Education Fund, a local not-for-profit organization whose mission is to enhance participation in the arts for all Bay Shore students.

Over the course of three years, the series has brought in award-winning authors Kyle Dargan, Veronica Golos, Jeanann Verlee and Regie Cabico to present their work to students.

“The response from students and teachers is tremendous,” said Matt Pasca, the curator of the series. “Some students have even sent inspired letters and emails to the authors we’ve brought in.” 

Naomi Shihab Nye will present two 20-minute poetry readings to an audience of over 600 students. Between those presentations, she will conduct two separate 60-minute poetry workshops with a smaller group of students who sign up beforehand.

“I love Naomi’s energy, it instantly makes you feel more positive about the future and your role it in,” Pasca said. “I believe that young people have that same exuberant, creative energy and will connect with that. Our goal is to expose as many students as we can to that energy, to generate a conversation about the purpose of writing and art.”

The nonprofit has continued to fulfill its commitment to bring deliver the arts to all Bay Shore students since its founding in 1997.

In March, the Bay Shore Schools Arts Education Fund took over 500 students to see the acclaimed musical Hamilton on Broadway.

Pasca, an English teacher who has been with the district for 20 years and is a published author himself, sees the Writer Series as a way of giving back to the community that shaped his artistic development.

“What’s wonderful is the Bay Shore community has always had such a strong commitment to the arts,” he said. “By the time they reach high school, our students already have this level of sophistication. We want to build on that and provide all Bay Shore students with access to the great theatre, music, writing, and poetry.

“It’s not just for the AP kids, the theatre kids, or the honors students. It’s for everyone.”