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When My Brother Was an Aztec
Natalie Diaz
$16.00 paperback
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When My Brother Was an Aztec
Natalie Diaz

In When My Brother Was An Aztec, Natalie Diaz examines memory’s role in human identity. Each section filters memory through specific individuals and settings. The first concentrates on a diabetic grandmother without legs and the landscape, tangible and intangible, of a Native American reservation. The second engages a brother’s strife with drug-use and his unraveling of the family, the home. The third grapples with war as a character and its tattering of individuals, families, and communities. Bigotry against Native Americans is confronted throughout the collection, and the speaker’s wrestling with identity is carefully woven into each poem. Faithfulness to and departure from tradition and culture are ever-present. Each poem is stitched into the reservation’s landscape, while many consider Christian identity. Natalie Diaz experiments with form, from couplets to parts, lists to prose poems, and explores the terrain of poetic predecessors, yet strikes out into new territory, demonstrating her adventurous spirit.


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When My Brother Was an Aztec - Natalie Diaz

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Kessler Poetry Book Award finalist

American Book Award 2013

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For When My Brother Was an Aztec, Natalie Diaz

“This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life. In darkly humorous poems, Diaz illuminates far corners of the heart.”—Publishers Weekly


“In her first collection...Natalie Diaz writes with heartfelt grandeur—and occasional needling wit.”—Library Journal


“When My Brother Was an Aztec reads with an undoubtedly earnest voice and illustrates Diaz’s capacity for language and metaphor, while still heeding her personal experience.”—Coldfront

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