Despite Native American Heritage Month coming to an end, the Fresno State Library encourages library users to continue learning about the experiences of Native Americans from their own voices. As always, the library is here for guidance. Highlighting the work of Natalie Diaz, a Mojave and Akimel O’odham poet, our LibGuide from librarian Sarah McDaniel is a wonderful resource:

LibGuides: Literatures in English Research Guide: Poet Natalie Diaz (Mojave/Akimel O’Odham).

As a language activist, former professional basketball player, and educator, there are countless opportunities to know the brilliance of Natalie Diaz. However, if you have yet to be acquainted with Diaz, her poetry is an excellent place to start. With graceful prose that holds impactful imagery, Diaz pulls from her experiences and vulnerabilities, allowing readers an intimate insight into her life.

Among pieces such as “Duned” and “How to Go to Dinner with a Brother on Drugs,” Diaz’s “I Judas Horse” stands as a personal favorite. Throughout the poem, Diaz contemplates what it means to share her brother’s story through her poetry. She grapples with the nuances of betrayal but also her right to tell her coinciding story. She defines writing, even without the intent to create poetry, as vital to her processing of unnerving moments. Even as a necessity in reaching solace, Diaz remains solemnly aware that writing about her brother cements her position as a Judas. Along with many of her works, this piece from Diaz is worthy of reading many times through.

– Mallory Crow, library student assistant