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Postcolonial Love Poem

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 1:05pm by samanthar

In her second published work, Postcolonial Love Poem, Mojave American poet Natalie Diaz lyrically tells readers what was stolen - bodies, land, love, rivers, language - by colonialism. While her work features heavily the themes of loss and othering, she does not dwell in wishing for a pre-colonial world. Her prose pushes readers to her present day brothers and sisters, how they walk with living wounds across polluted land. Diaz’s work is powerful and unlike any other I have read, juxtaposing facts 

Postcolonial Love Poem cover“Native Americans make up less than

1 percent of the population of America.

0.8 percent of 100 percent.” (American Arithmetic) 

with shadows of violence 

“My brothers have 

a bullet.

They keep their bullet

on a leash shiny

as a whip of blood.”  (Catching Copper)

with dizzying sensuality

“I want her green life. Her inside me

In a green hour I can’t stop.

     Green vein in her throat green wing in my mouth” (Desire Field)

Diaz's unique use of language tells a powerful story of reclamation, celebration, loss, and life. One of my favorite pieces in the collection is “exhibits from The American Water Museum”. It is the longest piece featured, and one of the hardest hitting. It jumps both in time and space to poisoned water in Flint, to US companies owning rights to water in South America, to imagery of the necessity of water to life, all making the point that bodies are water, and to use water is to use life. Throughout the collection, Diaz seamlessly weaves the stories of ancestors, contemporaries, and the environment, bringing them all together to tell a rich postcolonial love poem.

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