World of Wonders

In the fall 2022 semester, FHU students had the opportunity to interact with the celebrated author and poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil who gave an evening talk to the campus and community and provided a poetry workshop for English majors and poetry contest winners in the afternoon. There were several goals of this project, the first being the exposure of FHU students to a nationally acclaimed author. Other goals included the formation cross-disciplinary discussion of the themes and issues connected to the poet’s work, to provide writing students with a poetry workshop with a renowned poet, to shape discussions in Comp I and Comp II classes, and to provide a focus on the wonders of God’s creation and an attention to our responsibilities to the environment. As a result, this project had a direct connection to at least 300 FHU students (including students in ENG 101 and 102—on campus and dual enrollment students, students in Creative Writing, honors students, and those from a number of science classes. Ayers auditorium was filled for the evening session, 17 students attended the poetry workshop, and roughly 150 students engaged in discussions and writing projects in ENG 101 and 102. Two Professors on Poetry sessions were conducted in connection with this project including one that featured interplay between English and science faculty members; that event was attended by roughly 25 students.

This project resulted in a number of outcomes:

  • Comp I students enjoyed the readings in the book World of Wonders before the author came to campus so the conversations in classes were already more lively and students were visibly engaged. They related to the stories that the writer tells about her childhood, family, and children. They enjoyed the perspective that she brings about creatures in nature that inspire “wonder.”

  • Comp II students had a tangible starting place for their discussions and construction of arguments for research papers based on their reading of World of Wonder.

  • Science students drew connection between the arts and their respective fields of science as a result of their reading of World of Wonders.

  • Students in Creative Writing were exposed to a number of poems in different forms useful to the instruction of how to write poems by reading her poetry collection Oceanic; the style of Nezhukumatathil’s work provided examples, themes, and discussion board topics.

  • Even though we intended to plant 1000 bulbs on campus as well as a butterfly/bee garden using students during University Servants Day, to early fall is not the right planting time for these projects. The butterfly/bee garden has been put on hold until planned changes are made to the cross-country field. However, since we did not have the help of 100 students, the bulb planting was reduced to around 300, and those are sprouting and beginning to bloom as of February 2023.

Overall, this project was an incredible experience for FHU students. The author remained after the public talk until every book was signed. She posed for selfies for every student (and faculty member) who asked. She engaged them in conversation and replied to their social media posts. The conversations of the night were wide ranging and included family, race/ethnicity, writing, nature, and happiness. Our students asked intelligent questions and were granted exciting answers and interplay in response.

World of Wonders Poetry Workshop in the ARC
World of Wonders Eliza Hetrick Booksigning
World of Wonders Image 1
World of Wonders Evening Address
World of Wonders Students Holding WOW to be Signed
World of Wonders Poetry Workshop
World of Wonders Library Display
World of Wonders 5 of 300 Bulbs
World of Wonders  Fireflies in Ayers
World of Wonders Gift for the Author
World of Wonders Dinner with Faculty