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Nature Poem

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  498 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Nature Poem follows Teebs—a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet—who can’t bring himself to write a nature poem. For the reservation-born, urban-dwelling hipster, the exercise feels stereotypical, reductive, and boring. He hates nature. He prefers city lights to the night sky. He’d slap a tree across the face. He’d rather write a mountain of hashtag punchlines about ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Tin House Books
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Rebecca Foster
(3.5) Tommy “Teebs” Pico is a Native American from the Kumeyaay nation and grew up on the Viejas Indian reservation. This funny, sexy, politically aware multi-part poem was written as a collective rebuttal to the kind of line he often gets in gay bars, something along the lines of ‘oh, you’re an Indian poet, so you must write about nature?’ Au contraire: Pico’s comfort zone is the urban, the pop cultural, and the technologically up-to-date – his poems are full of textspeak (“yr,” “bc” for becaus ...more
Annise Blanchard
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
This is an honest and beautiful book of poems. A few quotes that really stuck with me:

"Thank god for colonialist plundering, right? At least some of these artifacts remain intact behind glass, says History"

"How do statues become more galvanizing than refugees?"

"It's hard to unhook the heavy marble Nature from the chain around yr neck when history is stolen like water"

"anything marvelous becomes holy in the Google translate of humanity"

"When a star dies, it becomes any number of things like a bl
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This poem pulls not punches as it tackles identity, stereotypes, and prejudice. I kept sharing bits of it on Litsy because it is so powerful.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
The first stars were born of a gravity, my ancestors -
our sky is really the only thing same for me as it was for them,
which is a pretty stellar inheritance

I cried, I fell in love, I'm in awe. Just beautiful.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, thc, the-west
An entertaining and thought-provoking rumination on a world running out of uses for nature. Pico brings together disparate entities to underscore the absurdity of the way we live now.
C. Varn
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pico is a poet to watch for a variety of reasons: the juxtapositions of identity and irony, his honesty about native affairs, the de-romanticization and re-enchantment of the natural world, the way he allows youthful speech and slang to be infected with poetic turns which a pastiche that avoids it feeling like a gimmick or even a conceit. Many of noted that Pico can be between the casual and serious, and in that way, some of his laugh-out-loud lines also end up devasting:

“I can’t write a nature
Anne Crow
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wow. Blown away by this. Love his use of language and subject. I find it hard to write my response to poetry sometimes so I'll borrow others' words: "unpredictable, sweet and wild", "so casual and so, so serious".

I wrote elsewhere that I wanted to give out quotes from this, but every time I opened the book to find something I just started reading all over again.

For me, the language was just the right mix of accessible and challenging. The subject matter too! It's a fine balance with poetry and t
Jake Powell
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pico’s poetry is intimate and casual, but can quickly jump to global scale. There are pithy and relatable one-liners that make me laugh, personal anecdotes that speak to larger truths, and plenty of moments I didn’t really understand. I love the clear and unapologetic voice, and I loved reading this.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aмерика, poetry
ok "for saundra" by nikki giovanni is one of my favorite poems ever & this book definitely reminds me of that can't-just-write-about-beautiful-trees-bc-the-world-is-too-terrible thing but this goes SO MUCH FURTHER. great stuff.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Talia Flores
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
every single person should read this
Dallas Swindell
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seeking a path to and from history without the reductionism of otherness or the platitudes of expected discourse, Tommy Pico once again settles Teebs (himself on the page) at the intersection of identity and community. Central to the poem is Teebs' drive not to be forced into a traditional nature poem, yet at the same time finding and extricating the deep set connections of modern life to history, human nature, and the earth.

This process of bringing to light that which existent society attempts
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ugh, Tommy Pico does it again. He has an incredible gift for writing heartwarming and hilarious poems that also make sure to remind you that we live in an oppressive system that is slowly crushing us all. How can someone write prose that is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking? PM me if you ever figure it out. In the meantime, read Nature Poem. Read IRL. Read every interview with Tommy Pico. Listen to his podcast Food4Thot. He's my role model. Bai.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Unfocused, chaotic. Reads like the poet is shouting at the reader.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, queer
tommy pico is everything btw
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I started reading this book as it had once popped up on a list of recommended books, was flagged by my brain as something to return to, and then revisited after listen to the first season of Food for Thot, on which the author writes. But I am actually very glad I read it.

There were many things I took from this poem, namely "feelings" more than fully fleshed, academic ideas. So instead of a full review, I'm going to talk about a few of my favorite lines:

Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tommy "Teebs" Pico is an Indian gay man who resents you for thinking that, as someone who grew up on the reservation, you expect him to write poetry about commuting with nature and all that crap. He wants to write about living in New York and trying to get lucky and the tiny things he notices about people and his exasperation and exuberance and complaints and pride and big thoughts and little thoughts.

I can't pretend that I get his life, but I can understand that resentment, that just because yo
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely magnificent. I could have read the entirety of this work in a single sitting, but it would have been an absolute shame to not take my time and savour it. Nature Poem comes from the refreshingly frank, honest and grounded point of view of an LGBTQ+, Indigenous, early-millennial at this moment in time.

As an LGBTQ+, early-millennial, there was a lot of Pico’s prose that resonated with me. As a person who works almost exclusively with Indigenous communities, I think that there is a lot t
Casey Schreiner
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western-reading
A really fun, rollicking, and excellent read.

This is a book-length poem by a queer Kumeyaay poet living in Brooklyn about the cultural expectation placed upon him to write a "nature poem." Throughout, Pico rages, complains, bites, and proclaims his own identity and voice -- and in the process does end up eventually writing a nature poem, albeit one that looks at nature from a modern, urbanite, Twitter-speaking lens. It's a point of view that is totally unique and sorely lacking from both the Nat
C.E. G
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I can't write a nature poem
bc it's fodder for the noble savage
narrative. I wd slap a tree across the face,
I say to my audience.

4.5 stars - Tommy Pico is one of my new faves. From the inside book flap: "Nature Poem follows Teebs - a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet - who can't bring himself to write a nature poem. For the reservation-born, urban-dwelling hipster, the exercise feels stereotypical, reductive, and boring. He hates nature... While he's adamant - bratty even - about his dis
Kari Barclay
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hilarious and smart.

"Nature keeps wanting to hang out, and I've been looking for a chance to use the phrase 'hackles of the night' but you can't always get what you want
Every date feels like the final date bc we always find small ways of being rude to each other, like mosquito bites or deforestation"

"Winter is a death threat from nature, and I don't respond well to predation--
it's not like summer, death in the form of barking men
takin issue w/the short shorts and the preen and the queenly holdi
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tommy Pico, winner of the Brooklyn Public Library Literary prize for his previous work, IRL, returns here with a book length poem quite different and yet just as moving and intimate and relevant as its predecessor.

Gone are the hip hop like cadences and occasional levity of IRl- this is a dark angry and bitter work where Tommy again contends with racism and stereotypes and the struggle for identity. It's anger and a cloud of negativity is not leavened or lightened at all.

In the end Nature Poem is
Laurel L. Perez
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pico’s collection centers on Teebs, the young, queer, NDN speaker who refuses to be wooed by the nature poem he’s trying not to write:

I can’t write a nature poem
bc it’s fodder for the noble savage
narrative. I wd slap a tree across the face,
I say to my audience.

Each line claps back at pervasive microaggressions and stereotypical assumptions that align Native identity with “nature.” Through text messages, Gchats, snippets of dialogue, and critical theory shorthand, Pico builds a wisecracking diale
Antonio Paola
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tommy Pico has written one of those book-length poems that seems to cover so many current and historical events, but is written in smartphone lingo, that you will want to read it again (and again). I love Tin House Books; My two favorite hip and intelligent modern day poets are published by them. Morgan Parker is the other poet.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tommy Pico's long poem rebellion against the nature poem is hilarious, conversational, and challenging, often in the same small block of text. It's almost like T.S. Eliot was one of your favorite twitter personalities, and also a tad bit more intersectional (just a tad), and offered up bon mots on our current cultural age on the regular.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy cow. There are books you read that leave you inspired and there are ones that leave you inspired AND transformed to see things anew. That is Pico's second book NATURE POEM an epic poem that is personal, emotionally conflicting, and relatable in various ways. From symbols to scenes to the vibrancy and also mundanity of city life he captures so much in so few words. Loved this.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of poetry, but hearing the author give a reading of an excerpt on the Food 4 Thot podcast inspired me to purchase a copy of this book--I'm so glad I did. Multiple times while reading this poem, I had to set the book down and reflect on the emotions that a particular passage had inspired in me. I thoroughly enjoyed Nature Poem.
Joshunda Sanders
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love how bold and honest and irritated and aloof Teebs is. I love that he confronts the reader and makes her work to overcome her biases about what it means to be an NDN poet. I love the way he plays with the language of now and social and Insta and slows it down with the old fashioned, analog discipline of an old soul who likes structure as much as blowing up convention.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Oh my word. I’m no poet, but I would straight up assign this to a nonfiction class just to get the chance to teach it. There’s so much to love and admire, not least of all the act of rejecting and then begrudgingly accepting a preoccupation.
Keondra Freemyn

Nature poem is unlike anything I've ever read. It's so honest and endearing...feels like an unexpectedly marvelous one-on-one conversation at a dinner party. Can't wait to read the rest of the author's work
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Tommy “Teebs” Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), Junk (forthcoming 2018 from Tin House Books), the zine series Hey, Teebs and the chapbook app absentMINDR (VerbalVisual 2014). He was the founder and editor in chief of birdsong, an antiracist/queer-positive collective, small press, and zine that published art and writing from 2008-2013. He was a ...more
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