English professor publishes collection of poems

by: JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Social Media Coordinator

Standing in the front of the room, papers in her hand, she reads the printed words and brings them to life with exquisite color.

Dr. Nimi Finnigan, instructor in English at South Plains College, recently celebrated the publishing of her soon-to-be released chap book, “Coconut Palm Kind of a Woman,” which is being published by Finishing Line Press.

The book is available for pre-order online and will be released March 18.

The come-and-go celebration was held Feb. 19 in the Communications Building. Faculty and staff members gathered in Room 105 to congratulate Dr. Finnigan with punch and cake provided by Great Western Dining. Shortly after the refreshments were served, Dr. Finnigan read a couple of her poems from her manuscript.

Each poem described her life and the drastic change from coconuts to dust.

“It’s a collection of poems,” Dr. Finnigan said. “I write a lot about how Haiti connects to any new place that I have been to.”

Dr. Nimi Finnigan reads poems from her upcoming book on Feb. 19. JENNY GARZA/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Many of the poems that are found in her book are about how the landscapes of Texas and Haiti are similar and how they are different. She also writes on women’s issues as well.

“I try to connect those three topics together,” Dr. Finnigan said.

The book is a collection of poems that she had written during the past seven to eight years, with a couple of new ones added in.

Dr. Finnigan had sent her collection of poems in for a chapbook competition to Finishing Line Press.

“I didn’t win the competition,” Dr. Finnigan explained. “They said, “We liked your poems, so we’re going to publish it anyway.”

She says her book was almost titled “Snow, Fruit, and Dust,” each representing a time in her life. The snow is from her short time in Pennsylvania. The fruit is representative of Haiti, and the dust represents Lubbock, Texas.

Dr. Finnigan explains that it was brought it to her attention that she could do better with the title. Reading through her poems, the name of the title jumped off the page, and “Coconut Palm Kind of a Woman” was copied onto the cover.

Dr. Finnigan is originally from the island of Haiti. She later moved to the United States, living in Pennsylvania for some time before moving to Texas.

It was in Texas where Dr. Finnigan had met her husband, Roderick. The couple lives in Lubbock with their two daughters. Their eldest daughter, Rebecca, is 11, and the youngest daughter, Sienna, is only 20 months. Dr. Finnigan is pregnant with their third child, who also is expected to be a daughter.

The newest member of the family is expected to be born just two weeks after her book release. The book is scheduled to be available in stores and online March 18.


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