Poem of the Week: “Dear Amy Nehzooukammyatootill,” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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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.



Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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