When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz
From Copper Canyon Press:
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.