Aimee Nezhukumatahil’s reading from ‘Oceanic’ begins at 5 p.m. at Off Square Books
APRIL 2, 2018 BY EDWIN B. SMITH
A University of Mississippi professor will share excerpts from her latest collection of poetry Tuesday (April 3) on the Oxford Square.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, professor of English in the university’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, will read from “Oceanic” (2018, Copper Canyon Books) beginning at 5 p.m. at Off Square Books. She will be introduced by fellow English professor and Mississippi poet laureate Beth Ann Fennelly and interviewed by fellow poet Ross Gay before the reading.
A limited number of copies of the book will be available for purchase. Admission is free to the public.
“In ‘Oceanic,’ I investigate forms of love as diverse and abundant as the ocean itself,” Nezhukumatathil said. “This book still aims to celebrate joy and wonderment of the natural world and desire like my previous collections, but this one is a more thorough registry of the earth’s wonderful and terrible magic.”
Nezhukumatathil is a great asset to the Department of English, said Ivo Kamps, chair and professor of English.
“Professor Nezhukumatahil has been an extraordinary addition to our MFA program faculty,” he said. “Her impressive body of work and acclaim as a nationally celebrated poet have enhanced our department in so many ways, and her excellence in teaching has made her a favorite among our students.”
Exclusively available at Square Books a week before its national distribution next Tuesday (April 10), “Oceanic” has already received critical acclaim.
“Nezhukumatathil’s poems contain elegant twists of a very sharp knife,” wrote Roxane Gay, author of “Hunger” and “Bad Feminist.” “The connections between the human and natural world are punctuated in this newest collection by (her) humor and vision, which illustrate for us a world both beautiful and at the brink.”
Nezhukumatathil is also the author of three previous poetry collections: “Lucky Fish” (2011), “At the Drive-In Volcano” (2007) and “Miracle Fruit” (2003), all from Tupelo Press. She also has written “World of Wonder” (2019, Milkwood), a forthcoming book of illustrated nature essays, and collaborated with Ross Gay on “Lace & Pyrite,” a recent chapbook of nature poems.
“I hope to get people thrilled and excited about the urgency and loveliness of nature writing,” Nezhukumatathil said.
“I think there sometimes is a reputation for poetry to be pretty dour and depressing, but I am hoping that in a world that encourages division and isolation, people can check out some poems that use joy as a vehicle for insisting that the inhabitants of this planet have more in common than we may think.”
The author is poetry editor of Orion magazine. Her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, Ploughshares and Tin House. Her honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pushcart Prize.
For more information about UM’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, visit https://mfaenglish.olemiss.edu/.