Tommy Pico is an indigenous (Kumeyaay Nation) writer, poet, and podcast host, born December 13, 1983.
Pico grew up on the Viejas Reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, near San Diego. His father was a reservation chairman.Pico started writing comics at age 5, and as a teenager created zines and wrote poetry.
He attended Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied pre-med with the intention of returning to the reservation as a doctor. He decided not to pursue medicine and moved to New York City, where he worked as a barista in Williamsburg and started writing poetry.
As of 2018, Pico lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
In 2016, Pico's first book IRL was published by the small press Birds, LLC.IRL is written as one long text message, drawing on the epic tradition. IRL received critical acclaim and was included on best-of-the-year lists for 2016. In 2017, it received the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize.
Pico's second book, Nature Poem was published in 2017 by Tin House. Pico again used the epic format, in this case to explore and challenge stereotypes of Native Americans as "noble savages" who are one with nature.Nature Poem also received critical acclaim. Pico followed Nature Poem with Junk in 2018 and Feed in 2019. Pico considers his four books as a series called the "Teebs tetralogy".
Pico co-curates the live reading series Poets With Attitude with Morgan Parker,and he is the co-host of the podcast Food 4 Thot , a podcast about queer identity, race, sex, relationships, literature, and pop culture. He is also the co-host of the podcast Scream, Queen! with Drea Washington. Scream, Queen discusses marginalized people and horror films.
In 2018, Pico was commissioned to create soundscapes for New York City's High Line park and a walking tour of Seattle for Vignettes Gallery and Gramma Press.
Pico's second book, Nature Poem, was the winner of a 2018 American Book Award and finalist for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award. He was a 2018 Whiting Award Winner for poetry.
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Food 4 Thot is a LGBT podcast hosted by Tommy Pico, Dennis Norris II, Joseph Osmundson, and Fran Tirado. The podcast is described as, "A multiracial mix of queer writers talk about sex, relationships, race, identity, what we like to read, and who we like to read."