Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Aimee Nezhukumatathil.jpg

Aimee Nezhukumatathil (/ˈmi nəˌzukuməˈtɒtɪl/;[1] Malayalam Abugida: നേഴുകുമറ്റത്തിൽ; Malayalam: [n̪eɻukuməʈət̪ʰil]; born in Chicago, Illinois) is an American poet and essayist. Nezhukumatathil draws upon her Filipina and Malayali Indian background to give her perspective on love, loss, and land.


Nezhukumatathil received her BA and MFA from the Ohio State University. In 2016–17 she was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi's MFA program. She has also taught at the Kundiman Retreat for Asian American writers.[2] She is professor of English in the University of Mississippi's MFA program. She is married to the writer Dustin Parsons. They live in Oxford, Mississippi, with their two sons.[3]


She is author of four poetry collections. Her first collection, Miracle Fruit, won the 2003 Tupelo Press Prize and the Global Filipino Literary Award in Poetry, was named the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year in Poetry, and was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award and the Glasgow Prize. Her second, At the Drive-In Volcano, won the 2007 Balcones Poetry Prize. With Ross Gay, in 2014 she co-authored the epistolary nature chapbook, Lace & Pyrite.[4] Oceanic was published in 2018 and won the 2019 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for poetry.[5] She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book of essays World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, which was published in 2020 by Milkweed Editions and was a Barnes & Noble Book of the Year, as well as an NPR 2020 Best Book of the Year.[6][7][8]

Of her process, Nezhukumatathil has stated: "I never set out to write a book—even after 4 books, I still find that prospect daunting. Instead, I focus on the individual poems, getting those done week after week. And sometimes some quiet times in between too."[9]

Among Nezhukumatathil's awards are a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, a Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship grant, inclusion in the Best American Poetry series, a 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in poetry,[10] and a Pushcart Prize for the poem "Love in the Orangery". Her poems and essays have appeared in New Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the United States,[11] The American Poetry Review, FIELD, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, New England Review, and Tin House.[2] Nezhukumatathil serves as poetry editor for Orion magazine.


  • Fishbone, Snail's Pace Press, 2000 (chapbook)
  • One Bite, Ohio State University, 2000 (MFA thesis)
  • Miracle Fruit: poems, Tupelo Press, 2003, ISBN 9780971031081
  • At the Drive-in Volcano: Poems, Tupelo Press, 2007, ISBN 9781932195453
  • Lucky Fish, Tupelo Press, 2011, ISBN 9781932195583
  • Lace & Pyrite, (with Ross Gay) Ow Arts Press, 2014 ISBN 9780982710678
  • Oceanic, Copper Canyon Press, 2018 ISBN 9781556595264
  • World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, Milkweed Editions, 2020, ISBN 1571313656


  1. ^ Nezhukumatathil, Aimee (2016-09-01). Aimee Nezhukumatathil: "Letter to the Northern Lights". Academy of American Poets. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  2. ^ a b "Tupelo Press > Author Page > Nezhukumatathil". Retrieved Aug 29, 2019.
  3. ^ "Aimee Nezhukumatathil | Extended Bio". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  4. ^ "Our Wholeness, Our Togetherness: A Conversation with Aimee Nezhukumatathil & Ross Gay". Asian American Writers' Workshop. 2018-08-29. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  5. ^ "on Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil – The Georgia Review". Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  6. ^ WORLD OF WONDERS | Kirkus Reviews.
  7. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - Jan. 17, 2021 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  8. ^ World of Wonders. 2020-01-15.
  9. ^ Nezhukumatathil, Aimee (2019-05-15). "INTERVIEW WITH Aimee Nezhukumatathil". FOUR WAY REVIEW. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  10. ^ National Endowment for the Arts > 2009 Grant Awards > Literature Fellowships - Poetry Archived 2009-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ H.L. Hix, ed. (2008). New Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the United States. Irish Pages. ISBN 978-0-9544257-9-1.

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