POET HONORS ANIMALS, ECOLOGY

By LORETTA FULTON

When Bob Fink looks at a photo of poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, he sees St. Francis of Assisi.Not literally, of course. The patron saint of animals and ecology died in 1226. But his spirit lives, and that is evident in some of Nezhukumatathil’s poetry. He also has a well-known prayer attributed to him.

“For me,” Fink said in an email, “Aimee’s poetry is her Saint Francis Prayer of Peace, prayer for peace.”

Nezhukumatathil will be in Abilene Friday, April 5, for the annual Lawrence Clayton Poets & Writers Speaker Series, which Fink, an English professor at HSU, is in charge of. Nezhukumatathil will speak and answer questions at 3:30 p.m. and will have a poetry reading at 7:30. Both events will be in the Johnson Building on the HSU campus.

The comparison with St. Francis and his love of animals and nature can be seen in some of the titles of Nezhukumatathil’s poems. A collection published in 2018 was titled “Oceanic.” A blurb from her website says, “In Oceanic, Aimee Nezhukumatathil hums a bright blue note—a sensuous love song to the Earth and its inhabitants.”

Her most recent work, “Lace & Pyrite,” is a collection of nature poems in collaboration with poet Ross Gay. A book of illustrated nature essays, “World of Wonder,” is due out later this year.

EVENT INFORMATION
What: Lawrence Clayton Poets & Writers Speaker Series
When: Friday, April 5
Where: Hardin-Simmons University, Johnson Building multipurpose room
Cost: Free, public invited
Featured speaker: Aimee Nezhukumatathil, poet and professor in the master of fine arts program at the University of Mississippi
Details: A talk and question and answer session will begin at 3:30 p.m. A poetry reading will be held at 7:30, followed by a reception

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