Graywolf Press invites you to a celebration with Natalie Diaz, author of Postcolonial Love Poem, winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Welcome: Jeff Shotts, Graywolf executive editor
Introduction: Solmaz Sharif, National Book Award finalist (Look)
Reading: Natalie Diaz (Postcolonial Love Poem)
Closing: Fiona McCrae, Graywolf director and publisher
Due to the limited program time, there will not be an audience Q&A, but the chat will be open so we can all celebrate together!
Natalie Diaz is the author of Postcolonial Love Poem, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and When My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of an American Book Award. She has received many other honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a USA Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artist Fellowship. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Diaz is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.
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—a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.
“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