IRL by Tommy Pico

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It is too early to tell, since forecasting a poem’s greatness is best left to psychics and prophets. On a more elementary level, Teebs’ long-form confessional poem is a joyous read.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Poetry. Native American Studies. LGBT Studies. IRL is a sweaty, summertime poem composed like a long text message, rooted in the epic tradition of A.R. Ammons, ancient Kumeyaay Bird Songs, and Beyoncé's visual albums. It follows Teebs, a reservation-born, queer NDN weirdo, trying to figure out his impulses/desires/history in the midst of Brooklyn rooftops, privacy in the age of the Internet, street harassment, suicide, boys boys boys, literature, colonialism, religion, leaving one's 20s, and a love/hate relationship with English. He's plagued by an indecision, unsure of which obsessions, attractions, and impulses are essentially his, and which are the result of Christian conversion, hetero- patriarchal/colonialist white supremacy, homophobia, Bacardi, gummy candy, and not getting laid.

IRL asks, what happens to a modern, queer indigenous person a few generations after his ancestors were alienated from their language, their religion, and their history? Teebs feels compelled towards "boys, burgers, booze," though he begins to suspect there is perhaps a more ancient goddess calling to him behind art, behind music, behind poetry.
 

About Tommy Pico

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Published September 1, 2016 by Birds, LLC. 98 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for IRL
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Aug 12 2016

Pico’s skillful rendering of Teebs’s coming-of-age attempts to create a cohesive identity out of his many selves proves to be entertaining, enlightening, and utterly relatable in the age of the smartphone.

Read Full Review of IRL | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Nov 21 2016

It is too early to tell, since forecasting a poem’s greatness is best left to psychics and prophets. On a more elementary level, Teebs’ long-form confessional poem is a joyous read.

Read Full Review of IRL | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books