Aimee Nezhukumatathil is a visiting professor who will be permanently joining the University of Mississippi’s MFA program as professor of English after teaching at SUNY-Fredonia for 15 years. She received both her Bachelors and Masters from Ohio State University.
The reason why she thinks poetry is important is nothing short of poetic itself:
“[it]can make you feel like you’ve traveled, can give you a rush of understanding, a thunderstorm in your heart or brain. It can make you hear music all day even if the world around you seems music-less.“
Although Aimee is obviously skillful at her craft, she describes her drafting process as “unglamourous.” “Lots of self-doubt, stops and starts, fussing over lines, stress-eating gummy bears (I’m only half-kidding)—but I think you have to push through distraction and just get it on the page, even if it means wading through the mucky swamp of doubt. I never know when I’m going to be able to return to the desk again. At the risk of being a tad melodramatic, I confess that at the end of every draft, I’m actually physically tired, spent. But I love and live for revision! Love it. That’s where the making and shaping joy and play and music-popping-crackle metaphor-magic and the snapping off line breaks happens for me.“
Nezhukumatathil gives any beginner poet some of her best advice! “As for specific advice for a beginning poet—I usually start with examining the openings and closings of the poem: the first line of the poem should hook just under your skin to keep you wanting, really wanting, to read on. The last line should feel as if the hook were either yanked out or gently removed. Either way, it should smart.“
The University of Mississippi English department is delighted to have Aimee a member of our faculty.