If you like podcasts, books, gossip, and gay stuff, and you do not already listen to Food 4 Thot, you've got to get on it. They are a multiracial group of young queer writers sitting around drinking rosé and talking about experiences in publishing, irritating people they've dated, Beyoncé, favorite canonical literature, poppers, gay bars, whether Zadie Smith is a top, dating apps, Beyoncé, identity politics, food, threeways, television, and Beyoncé.
They say that Food 4 Thot is a discussion "at the intersection of queerness and brownness," and they freely admit to the Beyonce thing, boasting that subjects range from "from Beyoncé to Borges, politics to peen sizes, Nietzsche to 90s R&B." Recently, they had Alexander Chee on as a guest.
The podcast’s conception stemmed from a discussion about how literary and intellectual spaces rarely allowed for conversations about things typically considered—well, not so intellectual. We loved talking about queer theory, identity politics, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, but also Mariah Carey’s Vine account, nail polish, and our absolutely filthiest hook-up stories. In a world where those conversations were so often separated, where could one get both?
I listened to my first episode on a ferry. Seemed apropos. Immediately I was enamored of Tommy Pico's voice. I loved his timbre, the ideas he was expressing, his givenness to laughter, to puns, to associative leaps, but maybe I was predisposed to liking him because I'd read about him in The Stranger. As I kept listening I got drawn in by the other guys' stories, too—one of them's a scientist, one of them's a former figure skater, one of them edits Hello Mr.... although Pico runs the conversation and, at least to my earbuds, he's the star of the show. In the ninth episode, he reads aloud from his latest book Nature Poem, an epic poem about hating nature poems. It's also about hating what animals men are, and about being one of those animals himself. And it's funny in a casually brilliant way, as if it were a really long text from the friend you like the most. Behold:
Stars are characters
in the tome of the night sky, which I shd work more at deciphering but no
I'll just sit here and think abt the sequel to A Beautiful Mind I just
invented called A Ugly Bag
"A" Ugly Bag. That's fucking great. It's a critique of nature poetry that is also a really amazing nature poem. In the span of four lines, Pico starts with the the lofty stars and ends with a bag of trash that could be floating around in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You gotta listen to him read it.
You can pick up a copy wherever fine books are sold, but for the love of Beyoncé you should go listen to him read it. He lives in New York City, like the rest of the guys on Food 4 Thot, but he'll be in town this Sunday at Elliott Bay at 3 pm. Bonus: Sarah Galvin will be reading as well, from her new book of poetry Ugly Time.