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When My Brother Was an Aztec

by

When My Brother Was an Aztec Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"I write hungry sentences," Natalie Diaz once explained in an interview, "because they want more and more lyricism and imagery to satisfy them." This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.

I watched a lion eat a man like a piece of fruit, peel tendons from fascia

like pith from rind, then lick the sweet meat from its hard core of bones.

The man had earned this feast and his own deliciousness by ringing a stick

against the lion's cage, calling out Here, Kitty Kitty, Meow!

With one swipe of a paw much like a catcher's mitt with fangs, the lion

pulled the man into the cage, rattling his skeleton against the metal bars.

The lion didn't want to do it —

He didn't want to eat the man like a piece of fruit and he told the crowd

this: I only wanted some goddamn sleep...

Review:

"In her debut, Diaz portrays experiences rooted in Native American life with personal and mythic power. The poems are narrative and surreal — bodies are wracked by addiction and diabetes, but sometimes 'a gunnysack full of tigers wrestles in our chests.' In the book's first section, stories of reservation life are layered with history and culture. A basketball prodigy ends up selling tortillas from her car; government-issued food leaves those who eat it hungry. We learn how a 'tongue will wrestle its mouth to death and lose — / language is a cemetery.' The third section presents a mix of tactile love poems focused on the female body — 'the door of your hip opening/to a room of light' — and others about global politics. Most striking, however, are the poems of the middle section, which figure and refigure a meth-addicted brother whose 'shadow flutters from his shoulders, a magician's cape' as he becomes a character in a series of myths. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A fast-paced debut that draws upon reservation folklore, pop culture, fractured gospels, and her brother's addiction to methamphetamine.

About the Author

Natalie Diaz was born and raised on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in Needles, California. Having played professional basketball for four years in western Europe and Asia, Diaz returned to the states to complete her MFA at Old Dominion University in 2007. She has received the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize and her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International, and North American Review. She lives in Surprise, Arizona.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781556593833
Author:
Diaz, Natalie
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
124
Dimensions:
9 x 7 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Native American

When My Brother Was an Aztec New Trade Paper
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Product details 124 pages Copper Canyon Press - English 9781556593833 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In her debut, Diaz portrays experiences rooted in Native American life with personal and mythic power. The poems are narrative and surreal — bodies are wracked by addiction and diabetes, but sometimes 'a gunnysack full of tigers wrestles in our chests.' In the book's first section, stories of reservation life are layered with history and culture. A basketball prodigy ends up selling tortillas from her car; government-issued food leaves those who eat it hungry. We learn how a 'tongue will wrestle its mouth to death and lose — / language is a cemetery.' The third section presents a mix of tactile love poems focused on the female body — 'the door of your hip opening/to a room of light' — and others about global politics. Most striking, however, are the poems of the middle section, which figure and refigure a meth-addicted brother whose 'shadow flutters from his shoulders, a magician's cape' as he becomes a character in a series of myths. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , A fast-paced debut that draws upon reservation folklore, pop culture, fractured gospels, and her brother's addiction to methamphetamine.
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