Building on IRL and Nature Poem, Tommy Pico’s Junk is a book-length break-up poem that explores the experience of loss and erasure, both personal and cultural.
The third book in Tommy Pico’s Teebs trilogy, Junk is a breakup poem in couplets: ice floe and hot lava, a tribute to Janet Jackson and nacho cheese. In the static that follows the loss of a job or an apartment or a boyfriend, what can you grab onto for orientation? The narrator wonders what happens to the sense of self when the illusion of security has been stripped away. And for an indigenous person, how do these lost markers of identity echo larger cultural losses and erasures in a changing political landscape? In part taking its cue from A.R. Ammons’s Garbage, Teebs names this liminal space “Junk,” in the sense that a junk shop is full of old things waiting for their next use; different items that collectively become indistinct. But can there be a comfort outside the anxiety of utility? An appreciation of “being” for the sake of being? And will there be Chili Cheese Fritos?
“A stream-of-consciousness riff on junk and all its meanings, continuing to explore Pico’s character Teebs in what could be a love poem or a break-up poem or both. . . . An ambitious and impressive work, using visceral language, that will appeal to a wide range of readers.”
—Library Journal, Starred Review
“A visceral exorcism of personal and collective demons… Pico demonstrates that a person’s many selves, traumas, anxieties, hookups, and breakups can become a marker of courage and survival.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Junk is a true American odyssey, complete with a reluctant hero who defies all odds to survive. . . . This is poetry of the highest order, on the level of a pop song, with the crystalline visions of a seer. I consumed it greedily, repeatedly, and am forever changed because of it.”
—Jenny Zhang, author of SOUR HEART
“It’s rare to read a book that makes living feel so alive.”
—Kaveh Akbar, author of CALLING A WOLF A WOLF
“Tommy Pico’s complex and lush third collection, Junk, explodes, rewinds, meditates, and explodes again. … Pico is uniquely qualified to both drag and celebrate modern day consumption and indulgence with graceful humor and grit.”
—Morgan Parker, author of THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCE