2019 Featured Author: Tommy Pico

photo by Niqui Carter

January 19, 2019 at 5 PM at Skylight Books: 2018 Whiting Award Winner in Poetry Tommy Pico reads from Junk with Joseph Osmundson.

Tommy “Teebs” Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds LLC, 2016), winner of the 2017 Brooklyn Library Literary Prize and a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), winner of a 2018 American Book Award and finalist for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award, and Junk (Tin House Books, 2018). 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. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where 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.


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? (from Tin House Books)

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

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

Tommy Pico speaks with Kasie Griffitts for Duende District’s Duende Conversations series:

Interviews & Press:

Episode 559 — Tommy Pico” in Otherppl with Brad Listi

Redefining our Subject Object Relations: Junk, by Tommy Pico” by Chris Campanioni in The Brooklyn Rail

Nothing Ever Ends: An Interview with Tommy Pico” by Danielle Susi in Entropy


Joseph Osmundson

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 VoiceThe Los Angeles Review of Books, Gawker, The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, The Lambda Literary ReviewThe 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/Outis now out from Sibling Rivalry Press. He is a co-host of the podcast Food 4 Thot.

LA Events

1/19/2019 Skylight Books @ 5:00:

Tommy Pico reads from Junk with Joseph Osmundson