Welcome to the future of poetry. It is Natalie Diaz, Mojave activist and former pro-basketball player, bringing a passionate, athletic clarity to poems that sprawl across language and identity. In the thrillingly inventive "exhibits from the American Museum of Water," Diaz presents stark placards of an imagined museum ("A dilapidated diorama. The mythical city of Flint, Michigan."), showing deftly what it might be like if we honored our life-giving forces. Diaz throughout honors our water and other unsung bodies — queer, indigenous; the brutalized, the surviving — with painful, gorgeous resonance. This stunning collection makes you feel the newly possible, not just in a poem, but in our language; the newly possible in our history, and how we will tell it. Recommended By Thomas L., Powells.com
Postcolonial Love Poem is earth-bending, earth-breaking, earth band-aiding. These are the hottest basketball poems I've ever read, the hardest long night wolf poems I've ever read, the smoothest river poems that you cannot stop. Recommended By Adie B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Natalie Diaz's highly anticipated follow-up to When My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of an American Book Award
Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz's brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages — bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers — be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: "Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden." In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.
Diaz defies the conditions from which she writes, a nation whose creation predicated the diminishment and ultimate erasure of bodies like hers and the people she loves: "I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible." Postcolonial Love Poem unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope — in it, a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.
"[An] exquisite, electrifying collection....Diaz continues to demonstrate her masterful use of language while reinventing narratives about desire." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"With Postcolonial Love Poem, Diaz brings her signature sharp, insightful, exquisite language to a collection about America, about future and past, pain and ecstasy....Diaz is a force." Bookmarks
"This is a breakthrough collection....A kind of love poem that can allow history and culture and the anguish of ancestors to flow through and around the poet as she addresses her beloved." Literary Hub
About the Author
Natalie Diaz is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec. She has received many honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a USA Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. She teaches at Arizona State University.