Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of Lucky Fish (2011). Her previous books are At the Drive-In Volcano (2007), winner of the Balcones Prize, and Miracle Fruit (2003), winner of the Tupelo Press Prize, the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in poetry, and the Global Filipino Award. Her poetry and essays have been widely anthologized and have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Black Warrior Review, FIELD, Mid-American Review, and Tin House.
Aimee was awarded a 2009 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, has twice served as a faculty member at the Kundiman retreat for Asian-American writers and has given readings and workshops from Amsterdam to San Francisco. She is associate professor of English at State University of New York-Fredonia, where she is a recipient of the campus-wide Hagan Young Scholar Award and the SUNY Chancellor’s Medal for Scholarly and Creative Activities. She lives with her husband and two young sons.
“For me, motherhood has been a joyfully slippery whirl— I feel like each day has its own specific answer, so I’ll leave it to others down the road if they want to draw comparisons to my earlier poems. But I can say that when I sit at my desk to write, there is a sense of urgency and a deeper sense of gratitude and celebration for this planet and its inhabitants. I know that my heartbeat is closer to the surface of my skin, so news about hate and violence affects me more than ever before, and I can’t help but feel sometimes that the only way I can push back against all this darkness in the world is to find ways to record instances of delight and beauty on this planet for my sons.” — Interview with David Winter, The Journal
Learn more about Aimee
The Rumpus Poetry Book Club chats with Aimee Nezhukumatathil about her collection Lucky Fish: “I moved five times before I was fifteen. So creating and recreating and devising some place to call home I think is always looming in the back of my poems…” Read the full interview here.
Read Camille Dungy’s “Why I Chose Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Lucky Fish for The Rumpus Poetry Book Club” here.
On YouTube you can see and hear Hektor Munoz readingthe poem “Aanabhranbdhanmar Means ‘Mad About Elephants’” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, from her Tupelo book Miracle Fruit. Praise for this amazing poem is also sung by Sandhya Nankani on the Sepia Mutiny site, where Sandhya pairs the poem with images from photographer Palani Mohan’s book, Vanishing Giants: Elephants of Asia.
Critical Mass, the always interesting blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors, is currently featuring Aimee Nezhukumatathil in its small press spotlight. Be sure to read down through the Calendar Poetica below the stunning photo of the author (thanks, Marion Ettlinger!). Aimee’s Calendar offers a fascinating, entertaining and wholy inspiring journey through her year as a writer, teacher and new mom.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Sandra Beasley were guests on the 4/23/08 episode of the Moe Green Poetry Hour, hosted by Rafael Alvarado. If you missed it, a podcast of the show is available.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poem “After Challenging Jennifer Lee to a Fight” from At the Drive-In Volcano was read by Garrison Keillor for Writer’s Almanac on public radio. If you missed it, you can still hear him read the poem (Real Audio required) at The Writer’s Almanac Website.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil made us blush when she wrote about the experience of being published:
I know everyone talks about the tactile feel of their book, the weight of it, in a very drama-filled rhapsody and I wish I could say something different, but I tell you, if you have never held a Tupelo book, you are missing out on one of the highest production qualities of any poetry book I have simply ever seen. The satinsilk matte cover with French flaps — it was a dream come true right there in my hands.
You can read the rest of her description of the publication experience here