Aimee Nezhukumatathil: If You’re Going to Cut Down Forests, Have the Decency to Name What You Destroy
This Week from the Thresholds Podcast with Jordan Kisner
This is Thresholds, a series of conversations with writers about experiences that completely turned them upside down, disoriented them in their lives, changed them, and changed how and why they wanted to write. Hosted by Jordan Kisner, author of the new essay collection, Thin Places, and brought to you by Lit Hub Radio.
In this episode, Jordan talks to Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders.
From the interview:
Aimee Nezhukumatathil: Not only knowing the names but getting them right is a duty to other living things on this planet, I think. Certainly towards humans, at the very, very least. But I would even say more so to the inhabitants of forests. If you’re going to cut them all down, have the decency to know which animals you’re destroying their land—not just call them brown birds, or birds even. Know that there’s blue warblers there. Know that there’s cerulean warblers there. Know that there’s pine siskins there. Know there’s a bird called a titmouse there. Just have the decency to know what’s around you.
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.