Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz

About Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz is an American poet and Associate Professor of poetry at Arizona State University. She was born in September 4, 1974 into a family of Latino and Mohave ancestry and identifies herself as Indigenous, Latinx, and Queer. She grew up in the Indian village of Fort Mojave in Needles, on the California-Arizona-Nevada border. She attended Old Dominion University where she played point guard on the women's basketball team, reaching the NCAA finals. After playing professional basketball in Europe and Asia, she returned to college, completing a master's degree in poetry and fiction in 2006. The life experience of Native Americans has always been a fundamental theme in Diaz's poetry and, in particular, constitutes the subject of her first collection of poems, When My Brother Was an Aztec, published in 2013. The work portrays experiences rooted in Native American life with personal and mythical power, according to a review published in the popular Publishers Weekly magazine and was part of Lannan's Literary Selection in 2012. It was also nominated for a PEN/Open Book Award in 2013 and was a 2013 American Book Award winner.
In 2018, she obtained the prestigious MacArthur Grant. Two years later, she published her second book, Post Colonial Love Poem, allowing her to win the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2021. This book was called a collection of tender, heart-wrenching and defiant poems that explore what it means to love and be loved in an America beset by conflict. The book was also finalist for the 2020 National Book Award, a finalist for the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a finalist for the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Collection, and shortlisted for the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize.
Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines include Drunken Boat, Narrative Magazine, Iowa Review, Guernica, Poetry Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, the New Republic, Tin House, and Prairie Schooner.
In 2012, she was interviewed about her poetry and language rehabilitation work on PBS News Hour. In addition to poetic and academic activity, Diaz is committed to safeguarding the Mohave language. She then lived in Mohave Valley, where she worked on revitalizing the language of Fort Mojave. She worked with the last speakers of this language and integrates the Gila River indigenous Indian community.
Since 2018, she was appointed director of the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Institute of Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.

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