Synopses & Reviews
Nature Poem follows Teebs — a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet — who can't bring himself to write a nature poem. For the reservation-born, urban-dwelling hipster, the exercise feels stereotypical, reductive, and boring. He hates nature. He prefers city lights to the night sky. He'd slap a tree across the face. He'd rather write a mountain of hashtag punchlines about death and give head in a pizza-parlor bathroom; he'd rather write odes to Aretha Franklin and Hole. While he's adamant — bratty, even — about his distaste for the word "natural," over the course of the book we see him confronting the assimilationist, historical, colonial-white ideas that collude NDN people with nature. The closer his people were identified with the "natural world," he figures, the easier it was to mow them down like the underbrush. But Teebs gradually learns how to interpret constellations through his own lens, along with human nature, sexuality, language, music, and Twitter. Even while he reckons with manifest destiny and genocide and centuries of disenfranchisement, he learns how to have faith in his own voice.
"A thrilling punk rock epic that is a tour of all we know and can't admit to. Pico is a poet of canny instincts, his lyric is somehow so casual and so so serious at the same time. He is determined to blow your mind apart, and . . . you should let him." Alexander Chee
"Few people capture New York, queerness, and the artful use of hashtags in a poem quite like Tommy Pico." NYLON
"Pico's poetry builds a contemporary Native American persona, one that occupies multiple spaces simultaneously: New York City, the internet, pop music, and Grindr. It's an identity that's determined to be heard by the culture at large." The Organist
"Pico centers his second book-length poem on the trap of conforming to identity stereotypes as he ponders his reluctance to write about nature as a Native American . . . In making the subliminal overt, Pico reclaims power by calling out microaggressions and drawing attention to himself in the face of oppression." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Tommy "Teebs" Pico is the author of the books IRL, Nature Poem, and Junk. He's been the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Poetry Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Brooklyn Public Library. He co-curates the reading series Poets with Attitude, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributor editor at Literary Hub. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Tommy Pico on PowellsBooks.Blog
The Line Hotel in Austin is new. It’s in previews. The restaurant is operated by my favorite winner of Top Chef. The entire city is drinking bottled water. I used bottled water to brush my teeth this morning. I have a craving for a Slurpee. I haven’t had a Slurpee in like seven hundred years. The streets are lousy with Bird scooters and Lime scooters...