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Write Thing presents poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Write Thing presents award-winning poet

Between the Balcones Prize she won for her poetry collection At the Drive-In Volcano and the Poetry Book of the Year prize she was awarded for Miracle Fruit, Aimee Nezhukumatathil is one most accomplished young poets around. This Thursday, February 10, she’ll be taking her talents to Medaille College.

A native of Chicago, Nezhukumatathil currently resides in Western New York, and is an associate professor of English at SUNY Fredonia. She has authored three poetry books; her latest, Lucky Fish, was released last month. Her work is primarily known for being upbeat and jovial and tends to touch on realistic subjects in a humorous manner. Her quirky nature may be best exemplified by her whimsically titled poem “Hippopotomonstro-sesquippedaliophobia,” which describes a teacher calming the nerves of her uneasy students on the first day. “I will tell you jokes, help you see the gleam of the beak of mohawked cockatiel,” her protagonist tells the class, giving readers an insight into the warm nature of the poet as well as her characters.

Nezhukumatathil touches on more somber themes too and is often influenced by her Filipino heritage. This can be seen in works such as “Working the Rice,” which describes an overworked farmhand forced to toil in the fields all day: “My skin smells like the orange salamanders dodging the wrinkled hands as we break water to pull the rice roots.”

Nezhukumatathil’s reading will be the latest incarnation of Medaille’s Write Thing Reading Series, which has featured several prominent authors and poets. Past speakers include such luminaries as Eric Miles Williamson and Horacio Castenallos Moya. The event is being sponsored by Starcherone Books, an independent publishing house that specializes in innovative writers—a tag that certainly fits Nezhukumatathil. Anyone looking for a little perspective, as well as a few laughs, would be wise to attend.

john hugar

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