Natalie Diaz

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Natalie Diaz
Natalie Diaz.jpg
Born (1978-09-04) September 4, 1978 (age 41)
Needles, California
LanguageMojave; English
NationalityGila River Indian Community[1]
Alma materOld Dominion University

Natalie Diaz (born September 4, 1978)[2] is a Mojave American poet, language activist, former professional basketball player, and educator. She is enrolled in the Gila River Indian Community.

Early life[edit]

Natalie Diaz was born in Needles, California.[3] She grew up in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the border of California, Arizona, and Nevada. She attended Old Dominion University where she played point guard on the women's basketball team, reaching the NCAA Final Four as a freshman and the bracket of sixteen her other three years. She earned a bachelor's degree.[4] After playing professional basketball in Europe and Asia, she returned to Old Dominion University, and completed an MFA in poetry and fiction,[5] in 2006.[6]


Her work appeared in Narrative,[7] Poetry magazine,[1] Drunken Boat,[8] Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, and Crab Orchard Review.[9]

Diaz's debut book of poetry, When My Brother Was an Aztec,[10] was a 2012 Lannan Literary Selection,[11] a 2013 PEN/Open Book Award[12] shortlist, and “portrays experiences rooted in Native American life with personal and mythic power.”[13] One important focus of the book is a brother's addiction to crystal meth.[14]

In 2012, she was interviewed about her poetry and language rehabilitation work on the PBS News Hour.[15]

In 2018, she was named as the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.[16]

In 2019, she will be faculty at the CantoMundo Retreat.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Diaz currently lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona where she used to work on language revitalization at Fort Mojave, her home reservation. She worked with the last Elder speakers of the Mojave language.[9] Currently, she teaches at Arizona State University.[18] She is enrolled as member of the Gila Indian Community.[3]


  • When My Brother Was an Aztec. Copper Canyon Press. 10 October 2013. ISBN 978-1-61932-033-8.
  • Postcolonial Love Poem. Graywolf Press. 3 March 2020. ISBN 978-1-64445-014-7.

In Anthology

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2018 - MacArthur Fellowship[19][20]
  • 2015 - PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship[21]
  • 2012 - Lannan Literary Fellowship[22]
  • 2012 - Narrative Prize[23]
  • 2007 - Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry[24]
  • 2007 - Tobias Wolff Fiction Prize[24]
  • Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry [25]


  1. ^ a b "Natalie Diaz". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  2. ^ "Natalie Diaz". 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  3. ^ a b [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Natalie Diaz". The University of Arizona Poetry Center. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  6. ^ "ODU Alum Natalie Diaz's Poetry Gets New York Times Attention". Old Dominion University. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  7. ^ "Natalie Diaz | Narrative Magazine". Narrative Magazine. 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  8. ^ Diaz, Natalie. "Dome Riddle". Drunken Boat. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  9. ^ a b "Copper Canyon Press". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  10. ^ When My Brother Was an Aztec. Copper Canyon Press. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "Awards and Fellowships: Recent Recipients". Lannan Literary Program. Lannan Foundation. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  12. ^ "PEN Open Book Award ($5,000) | PEN American Center". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  13. ^ "Fiction Book Review: When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  14. ^ Logue, Heather (November 27, 2012). "Natalie Diaz: Meth, Mistakes & Mischievous Barbies". The Seattle Star. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  15. ^ "Watch Full Episodes Online of PBS NewsHour on PBS | Conversation: Poet Natalie Diaz". PBS. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  16. ^ "Natalie Diaz appointed Marshall endowed chair in poetry at ASU". ASU Now: Access, Excellence, Impact. 2018-10-29. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  17. ^ "Home | CantoMundo". Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ "ASU poet Natalie Diaz wins MacArthur 'genius' grant". ASU Now: Access, Excellence, Impact. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  20. ^ "Natalie Diaz". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Fellows". Civitella Ranieri. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Literary Awards by Year". Lannon Foundation. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Narrative Prize". Narrative Magazine. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  24. ^ a b "33rd Annual Literary Festival, Old Dominion University, October 4-8, 2010". Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  25. ^ [4] Poetry Foundation

External links[edit]

External video
Natalie Diaz reads "Ode to the Beloved's Hips" at the 2014 Split This Rock Poetry Festival, March 30, 2014
Poet Natalie Diaz Reads From 'When My Brother Was an Aztec', PBS NewsHour, June 20, 2012