Open Word: Readings and Ideas with Tommy Pico
Friday May 4th, Open Space is delighted to welcome poet Tommy Pico to read from his latest book, Junk.
Tommy “Teebs” Pico is an indigenous American poet and karaoke enthusiast originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, now based in Brooklyn. His work includes the book-length poems IRL (Birds LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), and Junk (Tin House Books, 2018), all of which blend with alacrity and humour the language of pop culture and mass media, queer desire, and the drive to survive ongoing colonial trauma.
Pico is the winner of a Whiting Award and the Brooklyn Public Library's Literature Prize, and he was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural Fellow, Lambda Literary Fellow in poetry, and NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
From Publisher’s Weekly: "Pico concludes his stellar 'Teebs' trilogy in this frenetic book-length poem, a visceral exorcism of personal and collective demons. He draws formal inspiration from A.R. Ammons’s Garbage, but 'Junk isn’t / garbage It’s not outlived its purpose.' Pico litters his text with physical, emotional, and psychological detritus: 'A collision of corn dog bites and / chunky salsa to achieve a spiritual escape velocity,' thrift store miscellanea, and the baggage of lost loves."
From Jenny Zhang, author of Sour Heart: "Junk is a true American odyssey, complete with a reluctant hero who defies all odds to survive. Repulsed by the trashiness of empire, the violence of occupation, this book nonetheless searches in earnest for real tenderness, a romance that isn’t corny. ‘I’m not afraid of intimacy/ I’m scared of assault,’ our hero declares. This is poetry of the highest order, on the level of a pop song, with the crystalline visions of a seer."
Tommy Pico also co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, is a co-host of the podcast Food 4 Thot, and a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Learn more about his work here.
Open Space respectfully acknowledges that we are on unceded First Nations territory. The City of Victoria and the surrounding areas lie on the territories of the Coast Salish and Lekwungen-speaking peoples, including the Esquimalt, Songhees, and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations.
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