Aimee Nezhukumatathil was born in Chicago, IL to a Filipina mother and a father from South India. She attended The Ohio State University (go Bucks!) where she received her B.A. in English and her M.F.A. in poetry and creative non-fiction and was then awarded the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at UW-Madison. She is now Professor of English at State University of New York-Fredonia, where she teaches creative writing and environmental literature.
She is the author of three poetry collections: LUCKY FISH (2011); AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO (2007), winner of the Balcones Prize; and MIRACLE FRUIT (2003), winner of the Tupelo Press Prize, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, the Global Filipino Award and a finalist for The Glasgow Prize and the Asian American Literary Award. Her first chapbook, FISHBONE (2000), won the Snail’s Pace Press Prize.
Other awards include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, the Angoff Award from The Literary Review, the Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah, The Richard Hugo Prize from Poetry Northwest, an Associated Writing Programs Intro Award in creative non-fiction, and fellowships to the MacDowell Arts Colony.
Aimee was named the SUNY-Fredonia’s Hagan Scholar for a junior faculty member with distinguished scholarship– the first time a member of the SUNY-Fredonia English Department has won this award. Nezhukumatathil also received the Drescher Research Award and SUNY-wide Chancellor’s Award for excellence in scholarship and creative activities.
She lives in Western NY with her husband, Dustin Parsons, and their two young sons. She is at work on a collection of nature essays and more poems. Always, more poems.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil – Mosquitoes
When my father wanted to point out galaxies
or Andromeda or the Seven Sisters, I’d complain
of the huzz of mosquitoes, or of the yawning
moon-quiet in that slow, summer air. All I wanted
was to go inside into our cooled house and watch TV
or paint my nails. What does a fifteen-year-old girl
know of patience? What did I know of the steady turn
of whole moon valleys cresting into focus?
Standing there in our driveway with him,
I smacked my legs, my arms, and my face
while I waited for him to find whatever pinhole
of light he wanted me to see. At night, when I washed
my face, I’d find bursts of blood and dried bodies
slapped into my skin. Complaints at breakfast about
how I’d never do it again, how I have more homework
now, Dad. How I can’t go to school with bites all over
my face anymore, Dad. Now—I hardly
ever say no. He has plans to go star-gazing
with his grandson and for once, I don’t protest
He has plans. I know one day he won’t ask me,
won’t be there to show me the rings of Saturn
glowing gold through the eyepiece. He won’t be there
to show me how the moons of Jupiter jump
if you catch them on a clear night. I know
one day I will look up into the night sky
searching, searching—I know the mosquitoes
will still have their way with me—
and my father won’t hear me complain.