Postcolonial Love Poem

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Poetry

ISBN 9781644450147
Graywolf Press
Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press, and her second book, Postcolonial Love Poem, was published by Graywolf Press in March 2020. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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.

Judges Citation

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz is a heroic celebration and fierce reflection of love and “what love becomes” in postcolonial America. Herein, yield to one’s beloved and dizzying intimacy. Here, embrace family and community within bone-laden, historical complexities. Here, work to love oneself, one’s wounds, anxieties, and heart. Here is an origin-story wherein we “know finally that we will only ever be / as much as we are willing to save of one another.”