Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz by Alonso Parra

“Poetry is a lucky space to enter and to exist within, because it has the (sometimes overwhelming) capacity to hold tension — love and desire alongside ache and wound,” Natalie Diaz says. “Through poetry, I have learned to love myself best, to love my beloveds and strangers better. Poems hold me when I am having trouble holding myself.” For Diaz, poetry is not just a passion, but a career in which she has thrived. In 2020, she published “Postcolonial Love Poem,” which became the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and a finalist for the National Book Award and the Forward Prize in Poetry. Her previous collection, “When My Brother Was An Aztec,” won an American Book Award. She’s been recognized with fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, the Lannan Literary Foundation, the Native Arts Council Foundation, and Princeton University. In 2014, she was awarded the Princeton Holmes National Poetry Prize. Diaz also works as a language activist, serving as the Director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands, and as the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. In 2021, she was elected the youngest ever Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. And as accomplished as Diaz is, being a part of something — both the poetry world and the queer community — is what truly drives her. “It is essential to know who we mean when we say, ‘We’ and ‘Us.’ The ‘They’ is less important than the many ‘We’ constellated among us,” she says. —IL

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