...throughout the book, Pico’s tone is casual and intimate. Reading Junk often feels like receiving a long text message from Pico, the kind of message your friend texts you from a bathroom at a party to share news of something illicit, or strange, or wonderful ... So much of Pico’s verse recalls the work of midcentury poet Frank O’Hara...It may seem uninspired to compare a queer male poet who lives in New York City to Frank O’Hara, but I can think of no other poet who manifests O’Hara’s nerve and verve without sounding like a weaker imitation ... Pico’s italicized lines, his abbreviations and text speak, his low diction, his rapid shifts between moods and tones: all belie a carefully composed line. And Pico’s imagery startles with its precision; the lips 'marbled' by hickeys recall prime marbled red meat ... Pico’s poem is marked by energy and grace, silliness and variousness, and it elevates junk of all kinds; through Pico’s lens, nothing is not worth our attention.
If future aliens find Tommy Pico's book-length poem Junk among the ruins of human civilization, they might understand what it was like being alive in the year 2018, on the cusp of major cultural and ecological change ... a stream-of-consciousness style that recalls the generation-defining mythos of Allen Ginsberg's Howl... It's the frivolity of Junk that makes its more serious themes and undertones all the more striking ... The genius of Junk lies in the poet's outward vision, in his ability, heeding 'the gusting forward of time,' to create new space for himself and others like him, to create a new sense of identity.
...a visceral exorcism of personal and collective demons ... These references build into an apocalyptic crescendo via Pico’s propulsive fervor, junk piling on junk ... The poem is a therapeutic process for poet and reader alike; Pico demonstrates that a person’s many selves, traumas, anxieties, hookups, and breakups can become a marker of courage and survival.