In Postcolonial Love Poem, Natalie Diaz seeks nothing less than a fundamental reframing of the way we imagine colonial and postcolonial experience. That this is necessary should go without saying; that it is difficult is equally true. In reconstructing our relationship to the colonial imagination, after all, we have no choice but to use many of the tools of oppression, not least those of language and of form. The contradiction sits at the center of her collection, which won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. “What threatens white people is often dismissed as myth,” she writes in “The First Water Is the Body.” “I have never been true in America. America is my myth.” For Diaz, this means wrestling with her status as an outsider even as she recognizes that such a role has been imposed.
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