This week we're sharing this extract from an exclusive interview with Natalie Diaz in our Summer Bulletin. Here Natalie describes the thinking behind her PBS Summer Recommendation, Postcolonial Love Poem:
"This book is an inquiry into what it means to be a poet and how my relationship with language on the page can help me to live off of and beyond the page. What does it mean to practice poetry, to recognize it as a method for the ways I imagine and enact my beloveds and strangers alike, my Native language and English language, my autonomous and love-possible self within a terrible nation? The poetical imagination has taught me that desire is made equally of sorrow and pleasure, as am I. What does it mean for a person with a body like mine—a body with wounds both earned and inherited, both self- and empire-inflicted—to desire something more than my country has designed for me? These poems indulge in desire as imagination—a condition in which desire becomes more than a want at the end of my hands, where desire becomes the hand itself, what it might yet touch or invite of touching. I found these poems in the chasms between what is and what is yet to be—which is not a place of lack or dearth, but instead a place where I pleasure in the unknown of what or who I might become, which is the unknown of what and who we once were."
Members can read the full interview with Natalie Diaz in the PBS Summer 2020 Bulletin.
Natalie Diaz is from Fort Mojave in Needles, California, on the Colorado River. She is Mojave and enrolled in the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec won an American Book Award. She is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded the Holmes National Poetry Prize. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the United States Artists. Diaz is Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry and directs the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University.