Nature Poem (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Tommy Pico is your new favorite poet and I know he's your new favorite poet because he's my new favorite poet and probably Sherman Alexie's and Eileen Myles' new favorite poet too. He captures not just the spirit but, like, the language of our time. Nature Poem seems to pick up almost where his award-winning and ingenious IRL left off. It harnesses that momentum, runs with it, and spams your inbox with this book-length poem about Teebs, a queer Native American poet living in Brooklyn who can't write about nature. It's a timely search for a reconciliation with one's history and identity, full of hard and damning truths. -Eric

— From Summer Booknotes 2017


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
ISBN: 9781941040638
ISBN-10: 1941040632
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: May 9th, 2017
Pages: 128
Language: English