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Nature poem
2017
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BuzzFeed, Interview  - (WW Norton)

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Library Journal Reviews

The title of this cheeky, daring, joyously caustic work is ironic, for as the opening poem states, "I can't write a nature poem/ bc it's fodder for the noble savage/ narrative." Young, queer, and Native American, Pico's alter ego, Teebs, refuses to follow the expected path, declares "I only fuck with the city," and worries about getting a nose ring at 30. He's also frankly angry about the white settlers' abuses ("Thank god for colonialist plundering, right? At least some of these/ artifacts remain intact behind glass") and humanity's larger crimes and presumptions ("Dragonflies experience a kind of quantum time,// …and I'm supposed to believe we're such miracles?"). VERDICT A 2013 Lambda Literary fellow, Pico concludes, "It's hard to be anything// but a pessimist," but we can be deeply optimistic about his work.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Pico (IRL) centers his second book-length poem on the trap of conforming to identity stereotypes as he ponders his reluctance to write about nature as a Native American. This is "fodder for the noble savage/ narrative," he writes as ignorant people ask, "do I feel more connected to nature/ bc I'm NDN." Other similarly problematic expectations are wryly discussed: "An NDN poem must reference alcoholism, like// I started drinking again after Mike Brown and Sandra Bland and Charleston/ I felt so underwater it made no sense to keep dry." As an extension of this dilemma, Pico poses questions about what is natural human behavior: Is it natural for a football player to assault his girlfriend? Is colonialism natural? What about the feeling one gets while listening to Beyoncé's "Mine"? Pico's alter-ego "Teebs" remains in constant motion, leaping from the dentist's office to drag queen karaoke night to the movie theater: "I'm an adult I only let myself have/ candy at the movies/ so I've been going to the movies A LOT." In making the subliminal overt, Pico reclaims power by calling out microaggressions and drawing attention to himself in the face of oppression, "the way the only thing more obvious than your body/ is leaving yr shirt on in the pool." Agent: Lauren Smythe, Inkwell. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

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