I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my “writer identity”. There are Michigan writers, which can be further classified into categories like Detroit writers, U.P. Writers, and nature writers. Then there are queer writers, mixed-race writers, minority writers, women writers, feminist writers, religious writers, and this is just to name a few. But what really is a “writer identity”? Once you have it are you stuck with it for good? Is a “writer identity” beneficial or detrimental? How does one live up to this sort of badge?
Meet Aimee Nezhukumatathil: a half Filipina, half South Indian poet and professor of creative writing and environmental literature at State University of New York at Fredonia. I fell in love with her work because of the contagious beauty of her voice. She flawlessly deals with issues of seemingly small scale to issues of much social gravity. But, furthermore, she has a “writer identity” as an Asian-American poet. Somehow she has struck a lovely balance of writing poems that lean on this identity and, simultaneously, bloom far beyond it. Read one of my favorites of hers, Two Moths, below.
P.S. It’s pronounced Neh-Zu-Ku-Ma-Tah-Till.
P.P.S If you are looking for more inspiring mixed-race identified writers, check out Aaron Samuels.
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil