Center for Poetry intern Grace Carras selected this poem, and had this to say:
“I had the great privilege of participating in a poetry workshop led by Aimee Nezhukumatathil over the summer. As a teacher, she was tremendously energetic and inspiring; as a poet, her wit and attention to sensory detail sets her work apart from so many others. I’ve felt inspired by her poetry for months, and I hope you find yourself inspired as well.”
Dear Amy Nehzooukammyatootill,
(a found poem, composed entirely of e-mails from various high school students)
If I were to ask you a question about your book
and sum it up into one word it would be, Why?
I think I like Walt Whitman better than you. I just don’t
get literature, but for a fast hour and a half read, your book
takes the cake. I like how you organized the lines
in that one poem to represent a growing twisting bonsai tree.
Are you going to get a rude reaction when you meet
that one guy in that one poem? I guess you never know.
You are very young to be a poet. I also like how your poems take
up an entire page (it makes our reading assignment go faster).
In class we spend so much time dissecting your poems
and then deeply analyzing them. I think I like Walt Whitman
better than you, but don’t take offense—you are very good too!
You are young, You are young and pure and really just want
to have a good time. Thank you we have taken a debate
and you are a far better poet than Walt Whitman. And I loved
how your poems were easy to read and understand. Hello
my name is Alicia. We read you book and I just loved it.
We also read Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. There
was no competition there. I liked your book a whole lot better.
It was an easy read. But poetry is not my favorite type
of literature. Sometimes I am offered drinks and guys
try to talk to me but I too just brush it off and keep dancing.
Every once and a while the creepy mean guys try to offer you
things and then they say something. What would you do?
Lastly, I was wondering if you ever wrote a poem that really
didn’t have a deeper meaning but everyone still tried
to give it one anyways? Walt Whitman is better than you.