Junk (Tin House Books)
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?
Praise for Junk
"Tommy Pico's books are contemporary epics. He writes poetry of rare brilliance, assured in form and forceful in its interrogation of myth and cultural expectations and self." —2018 Whiting Award judges
“'I'll be reading Ulysses for the rest of my life, I think, but in the meantime there's always poetry. Tommy Pico's new collection, Junk, is nimble as jazz, intentionally unstable, a queer Beat novel in verse for the social media age." —Greg Cowles, The New York Times Book Review
"Imagine Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' littered with Morgan Parker's pop cultural panache, and you'll get Junk, Tommy Pico's brazen third book, a long-form breakup poem at once hilarious and harrowing." —O, the Oprah Magazine
“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
"Honestly, don't even waste time reading my blurb about this book, because you could—and should—read all of Junk in one feverish sitting, and you'll feel like it's been injected right into your gut, where all good and weird things and feelings live and breed." —NYLON
Tommy "Teebs" Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), and Junk (Tin House Books, 2018). He's the winner of a Whiting Award and the Brooklyn Public Library's Literature Prize, and he was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural Fellow, Lambda Literary Fellow in poetry, and NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Los Angeles.
Photo by Niqui Carter
Joseph Osmundson is a scientist and writer based in New York City. He has a PhD from The Rockefeller University in Molecular Biophysics, and he's currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Biology at NYU. His writing has appeared in The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Gawker, The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, The Lambda Literary Review, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. His book Capsid: A Love Song won the POZ Award for best HIV writing (fiction/poetry) and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His second book, Inside/Out, is now out from Sibling Rivalry Press. He is a co-host of the podcast Food 4 Thot.