Longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry
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.
“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
“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
“[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)