Tommy "Teebs" Pico
Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, near San Diego, Pico now lives in Brooklyn, where he curates the reading series Poets With Attitude with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. He is the author of several books, including IRL and Nature Poem, the online zine series Hey, Teebs and the chapbook app Absent MINDR. Pico was the founder and editor in chief of Birdsong, an antiracist, queer-positive collective and small press that published art and writing from 2008 to 2013. Pico also is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in New York. When we caught up with the poet, he explained why he chose a school so far from home. "I needed to throw myself headlong into a world I didn't really have context for and realign myself inside that,'' he said.
Pico will appear at 7:30 p.m. June 17 at the University of Tampa as part of the university's Lectores Reading Series.
What's on your nightstand?
Blackacre by Monica Youn and What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell.
Do you recommend them?
I recommend both to anyone who needs a good cry.
When it comes to Native American writers, what do you encourage young readers to read, high schoolers or those in their 20s?
Tanaya Winder, Frank Waln, Casandra M. Lopez, William Bearhart, Elissa Washuta, Simon Moya-Smith, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier. The list goes on and on. Basically there are a lot of young Native writers out here showing you the nuance, humanity, depth and variegations that exist in Indian country, and I'm so proud to be part of that.
When did you start writing poetry?
I started writing poetry as soon as I could spell. I wrote poems on the back of bookmarks I made in kindergarten and drew mermaids on the front.
Contact Piper Castillo at email@example.com. Follow @Florida_PBJC.