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  • kjoannerixon

Postcolonial Love Poem

a person with long hair raises their hand to obscure their face

I read this book in the desert and loved the way I felt it from the inside and the outside both. To read about thirst and heat and desire while feeling thirsty and hot and homesick is one of life's joys, and so I'd have told you even then that I thought this was a fantastic book. Only after I finished it and sat down to write this review did I find out that POSTCOLONIAL LOVE POEM won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; I didn't have an internet connection in the desert, so I missed quite a bit of news this winter.

I don't always care about traditional institutions' views of quality, but this time I think the prize is well given. Diaz' language is intricate and complex, evoking sharp, distinct feelings of desire and loneliness, anger and love. Like the desert, it is itself, only more so.

My favorite poem in this collection (although perhaps not the most technically impressive--I just liked it most) is "Wolf OR-7". Here are a few lines from it:

In the tourmaline dusk I go a same wilding path,

pulled by night's map into the forests and dunes of your hips,

divining from you rivers, and then crossing them--

and a few more lines, from later:

My mind climbed the rise, fall, rise of your bared back.

In me a pack of wolves appeared and disappeared

over the hill of my heart.

I too, follow toward where I am forever returning--


And somewhere in the dark

of a remote night-vision camera,

the quivering green music of animals.



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