poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Born in 1974 in Chicago to a Filipina mother and Malayali Indian father, Aimee Nezhukumatathil is known for writing poems that sit at the intersection of three cultures: Filipino, Indian, and American. She received her BA in English and MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Ohio State University in Columbus.

Nezhukumatathil is the author of three poetry collections: Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011), winner of the 2011 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize; At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press, 2007), winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize; and Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003), winner of the Global Filipino Award and the Tupelo Press Prize, as selected by Gregory Orr.

Bright and accessible, Nezhukumatathil’s poems are full of colors, foods, and landscapes plucked from each of her cultural influences and are tinged with joy. Naomi Shihab Nye writes, “Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poems are as ripe, funny and fresh as a precious friendship. They’re the fullness of days, deliciously woven of heart and verve, rich with sources and elements—animals, insects, sugar, cardamom, legends, countries, relatives, soaps, fruits—taste and touch. I love the nubby layerings of lines, luscious textures and constructions. Aimee writes with a deep resonance of spirit and sight. She’s scared of nothing. She knows that many worlds may live in one house. Poems like these revive our souls.”

Nezhukumatathil’s awards include the Charles Angoff Award from The Literary Review, the James Boatwright III Prize from Shenandoah, the Richard Hugo Prize from Poetry Northwest, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

She is a professor of English in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.


Selected Bibliography

Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011)
At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press, 2007)
Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003)

Wrap

I don't mean when a movie ends,
as in, it's a! Nor tortillas splitting
with the heavy wet of bean.
And I don't mean what you do

with your lavender robe all fluff
and socks to snatch the paper
from the shrubs. Nor the promise
of a gift, the curl and furl of red ribbon

just begging to be tugged. What I mean
is waiting with my grandmama (a pause
in the Monsoon) at the Trivandrum airport
for a jeep. Her small hand wraps

again the emerald green pallu of her sari
tucked in at her hips, across her breast, 
and coughs it up over her shoulder a hush
of paprika and burnt honey across my face.

From Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Copyright © 2003 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press. All rights reserved.

From Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Copyright © 2003 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press. All rights reserved.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three poetry collections: Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011), winner of the 2011 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize; At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press, 2007), winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize; and Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003), winner of the Global Filipino Award and the Tupelo Press Prize.

by this poet

poem

To everything, there is a season of parrots. Instead of feathers, we searched the sky for meteors on our last night.  Salamanders use the stars to find their way home. Who knew they could see that far, fix the tiny beads of their eyes on distant arrangements of lights so as to return to wet and wild nests? Our

2
poem

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

2
poem

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

2