Nature Poem

By Tommy Pico

Available

Description

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.

Product Details

Price: $14.95  $13.75
Publisher: Tin House Books
Published Date: May 09, 2017
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 5.9 X 0.5 X 8.9 inches | 0.3 pounds
ISBN: 9781941040638
BISAC Categories:

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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.

Reviews

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
Instead of following the conventions of the pastoral tradition, in which nature is revered, Pico adopts a tragicomic view. On the one hand, the land of his native people can be described with great reverence, desert nights that "chill and sparkle and swoon with metal/ lighting up the dark universe." On the other, that same landscape carries and extends legacies of racism and genocide that Pico is determined not to forget.--The San Francisco Chronicle
Pico has pulled me out of a poetry slump. His poems make me want to live with more poetry, to read, write and revel in poetry as a form that does not have to be a container.--Brooklyn Magazine
Few people capture New York, queerness, and the artful use of hashtags in a poem quite like Tommy Pico.--NYLON
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
Nature Poem is a book about our true nature.--Jericho Brown
Humor lays the groundwork for a hard truth and, for poet Tommy Pico, that hard truth is about living as an indigenous person in occupied America. . . . 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/KCRW