Synopses & Reviews
From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction — a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted — no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape — she was able to turn to our world's fierce and funny creatures for guidance.
"What the peacock can do," she tells us, "is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life." The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world's gifts.
Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy.
"Nezhukumatathil's essays, with vibrant illustrations from Fumi Mini Nakamura, are in turn humorous, poignant, relatable, passionate (especially when she's bemoaning disappearing species and habitats), and always interesting." Booklist
"Nezhukumtathil applies her skill as a poet to a scintillating series of short essays on nature. She takes up topics that fascinate her...and connects them to her own experience of the world." Publishers Weekly
"Nezhukumatathil's investigations, enhanced by Nakamura's vividly rendered full-color illustrations, range across the world...The writing dazzles with the marvel of being fully alive." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
About the Author
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four collections of poems, including, most recently, Oceanic, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Other awards for her writing include fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mississippi Arts Council, and MacDowell. Her writing appears in Poetry, the New York Times Magazine, ESPN, and Tin House. She serves as poetry faculty for the Writing Workshops in Greece and is professor of English and creative writing in the University of Mississippi's MFA program.