Postcolonial Love Poem

Postcolonial Love Poem

by Natalie Diaz


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Notes From Your Bookseller

From verse that is as sharp as a knife to vivid and sensual imagery, Diaz uses words like a paint brush. Her work moves from vivid retellings of childhood and family experiences to the more intimate moments in life. Issues of society and culture bump against the personal as Diaz moves effortlessly between the two worlds. And, there’s a sly sense of humor slipped in there, just to keep you on your toes. This is a complete collection of poems for your library.


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.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Emilia Phillips

This book asks us to read the world carefully, knowing that not everything will be translated for us, knowing that it is made up of pluralities…Diaz's collection is no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire.

Publishers Weekly

★ 12/16/2019

In this exquisite, electrifying collection, Diaz (When My Brother Was an Aztec) studies the body through desire and the preservation of Native American lives and cultures, suggesting that to exist as a Native in a world with a history of colonization and genocide is itself a form of protest and celebration. She explores this idea in “The First Water Is the Body,” cataloguing the destruction of this invaluable resource by those who seek to protect it: “in the U.S., we are tear-gassing and rubber-bulleting and kenneling natives trying to protect their water from pollution and contamination at Standing Rock.” But it’s desire, both in its erotic form and as present in the will to assimilate, that drives the book: “Like any desert, I learn myself by what’s desired of me—/ and I am demoned by those desires.” “These Hands, If Not Gods” opens with a stunning lyrical address to a lover: “Haven’t they moved like rivers—/ like glory, like light—/ over the seven days of your body?” The elegiac “Grief Work” closes the book with a meditation on longing: “my melancholy is hoofed./ I, the terrible beautiful// Lampon, a shining devour-horse tethered at the bronze manger of her collarbones.” Diaz continues to demonstrate her masterful use of language while reinventing narratives about desire. (Mar.)

From the Publisher

Diaz’s collection is no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire.”The New York Times Book Review

“With tenacious wit, ardor, and something I can only call magnificence, Diaz speaks of the consuming need we have for one another. This is a book for any time, but especially a book for this time. These days, and who knows for how long, we can only touch a trusted small number of people. Diaz brings depth and resonance to the fact that this has always been so. Be prepared to journey down a wild river.”—Louise Erdrich

“The representation of violence against Native peoples is a driving engine of [Postcolonial Love Poem]. Whether it be historical or present violence against the general Native population and culture, the specific violence levied at girls and women, the violence of the Christian religion, the cyclical violence the male body engages in, a violence — sometimes loud cacophony, sometimes mute ghost — saturates these pages. . . . In the very present absence of the Mojave language, Postcolonial Love Poem becomes a very present love poem to self and community, post colonialism.”—

“This is a breakthrough collection. In a world where nothing feels so conservative as a love poem, Diaz takes the form and smashes it to smithereens, building something all her own. 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.”—John Freeman, Literary Hub

“[Postcolonial Love Poem] is a powerhouse, filled with poems that will challenge you, comfort you, and arouse you. These are the kind of poems that inspire the reader to come to the page to make art of their own, and you will surely find your way to your own words.”Autostraddle

“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, and we are all just lucky to live in a world where she writes.”Bookmarks

“The range of voices invoked in this text is just one of the many markers of Postcolonial Love Poem’s astonishing accessibility, though it is the author’s command over language that reigns triumphant in drawing the reader in.” The Adroit Journal

“In poem after poem, Diaz skillfully mingles the language of romantic love, heartbreak, and spiritual reverence with imagery of the Earth, solar system, and human body, suggesting all are intimately connected.”U.S. Catholic Magazine

“[An] exquisite, electrifying collection. . . . Diaz continues to demonstrate her masterful use of language while reinventing narratives about desire.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Groundbreaking. . . . Entire dissertations could be written about Diaz’s use of light and color in this book’s lithe lyrics. . . . An unparalleled lyric work.”Booklist, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781644450147
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Pages: 80
Sales rank: 28,615
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

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