Natalie Diaz (b. 1978, Needles CA) is the holder of a MacArthur ‘genius’ award, a former professional basketball player and one of the few remaining speakers of the Mojave language. ‘Where we come from, we say language has an energy, and I feel that it is a very physical energy’. Diaz’s US publishers, Graywolf, describe Postcolonial Love Poem as ‘an anthem of desire against erasure’, of which the erasure of language is just one form.
‘Ash can make you clean, / as alkaline as it is a grief’, writes Diaz in ‘That Which Cannot be Stilled’. Her new collection performs that work of cleansing and mourning, shot through with desire and celebration. ‘In this book’, writes Diaz, ‘I demanded a different visibility, one that makes my nation uncomfortable – my speakers refused to be defined by their wounds and would instead sow them and reap light from them.’
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Photo credit: Tony Gale