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Nature Poem

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  617 Ratings  ·  72 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, 78 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Tin House Books
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(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
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
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.
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.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-faves
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.
Kye Plant
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At times it frustrated me and at times the words made me want to cry because I connected so deeply with them.
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
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i keep rereading this book. it's my favorite book from the last year. not to be dramatic but


Elizabeth Wenger
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is the best book of poetry I've read in months
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Accessible, antsy, funny, and moving.
Rachel Simone
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly funny while also full of rage. This poem utilizing some "internet speak," which in a way freezes it in time as language / abbreviations constantly change.
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:

Sarah Koppelkam
Tommy Pico refuses to be anything we want him to be, refuses to be a token or a stereotype or your source from which to appropriate culture, refuses even to use a language that has been policed and forced upon. Pico's ~nature~ is one of being young, queer, "NDN", in the city, making bad decisions and taking poor care of yourself. In his nature, Beyoncé and Amy Winehouse are just as important as our imagination of what nature should be. I loved this. Page 40 and page 49 are too long to excerpt he ...more
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
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
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently experiencing a full body brain body spirit crush on Tommy Pico, which is inevitable because among other things Nature Poem is a major trap in the house of intellectual thirst. It's so exciting to read a poem in a voice that reminds you of your own voice, the voices of people you know. It's like your experience of this earth is worth of being sung, and you have found the poet to sing your story.

The collection moves with hyperactive energy from high and low culture, different levels
Andrea McDowell
This book-length poem is a delight.

Tommy Pico is an indigenous young gay city-dwelling american who inventively and beautifully combines and switches between what is considered classic or traditional english poetic forms and language, experiences with a native upbringing, millennial netspeak and modern city living, a history of colonialism and genocide and its impact on his family and friends, lots of swearing, and an overall reaction to the stereotype associating native people with The Land, b
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Written by a gay Kumeyaay (a Southern California Native American tribe) man, this collection has a lot to it. From musings about why he can/can't write a poem about nature (stereotypes about Native Americans mean he sometimes can't even pick up litter without being harassed) to a poem where corporate slogans make up all the lines and each lines ends in #death, to explorations of both imperialism and the NYC gay bar scene, this eclectic collection is marked by a "textspeak" format ("yr" = your, e ...more
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
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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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