MacArthur Fellow

Natalie Diaz
Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Natalie Diaz is a poet blending personal, political, and cultural references in works that challenge the systems of belief underlying contemporary American culture. She connects her own experiences as a Mojave American and Latina woman to widely recognized cultural and mythological touchstones, creating a personal mythology that viscerally conveys the oppression and violence that continue to afflict Indigenous Americans in a variety of forms. In her first collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012), Diaz reflects on her brother’s drug addiction, drawing upon Mojave, Greek, and Christian symbols to describe his destructive behavior and its effect on her family. Diaz is a powerful new poetic voice, and she is broadening the venues for and reach of Indigenous perspectives through her teaching, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and language preservation efforts. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Diaz’s poems and essays have appeared in such publications as "Narrative Magazine," "Guernica," "Poetry Magazine,"  "The New Republic," "Tin House," and "Prairie Schooner," among others, and she is an associate professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University.