Natalie Diaz


Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. She is 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program. Source

Why I Hate Raisins

And is it only the mouth and belly which are

injured by hunger and thirst?



Love is a pound of sticky raisins

packed tight in black and white

government boxes the day we had no

groceries. I told my mom I was hungry.

She gave me the whole bright box.

USDA stamped like a fist on the side.

I ate them all in ten minutes. Ate

too many too fast. It wasn’t long

before those old grapes set like black

clay at the bottom of my belly

making it ache and swell.


I complained, I hate raisins.

I just wanted a sandwich like other kids.

Well that’s all we’ve got, my mom sighed.

And what other kids?

Everyone but me, I told her.

She said, You mean the white kids.

You want to be a white kid?

Well too bad ’cause you’re my kid.

I cried, At least the white kids get a sandwich.

At least the white kids don’t get the shits.


That’s when she slapped me. Left me

holding my mouth and stomach—

devoured by shame.

I still hate raisins,

but not for the crooked commodity lines

we stood in to get them—winding

around and in the tribal gymnasium.

Not for the awkward cardboard boxes

we carried them home in. Not for the shits

or how they distended my belly.

I hate raisins because now I know

my mom was hungry that day, too,

and I ate all the raisins.





Literary Movements:

Native American Renaissance

Anthology Years:




Childhood & Coming of Age



Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem

Media Res

a literary work that begins in the middle of the action (from the Latin “into the middle of things)


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”

Transferred Epithet

When an adjective usually used to describe one thing is transferred to another.