cover image Postcolonial Love Poem

Postcolonial Love Poem

Natalie Diaz. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-64445-014-7

In this exquisite, electrifying collection, Diaz (When My Brother Was an Aztec) studies the body through desire and the preservation of Native American lives and cultures, suggesting that to exist as a Native in a world with a history of colonization and genocide is itself a form of protest and celebration. She explores this idea in “The First Water Is the Body,” cataloguing the destruction of this invaluable resource by those who seek to protect it: “in the U.S., we are tear-gassing and rubber-bulleting and kenneling natives trying to protect their water from pollution and contamination at Standing Rock.” But it’s desire, both in its erotic form and as present in the will to assimilate, that drives the book: “Like any desert, I learn myself by what’s desired of me—/ and I am demoned by those desires.” “These Hands, If Not Gods” opens with a stunning lyrical address to a lover: “Haven’t they moved like rivers—/ like glory, like light—/ over the seven days of your body?” The elegiac “Grief Work” closes the book with a meditation on longing: “my melancholy is hoofed./ I, the terrible beautiful// Lampon, a shining devour-horse tethered at the bronze manger of her collarbones.” Diaz continues to demonstrate her masterful use of language while reinventing narratives about desire. (Mar.)