Yesterday, Ada Limón made history, becoming the first female U.S Poet Laureate of Mexican-American heritage! Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, described her as “a poet that connects,” whose work speaks of “intimate truths, of the beauty and heartbreak that is living, in ways that help us move forward.”
Limón grew up in Sonoma, California, and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky. From a young age, Limón had an interest in the arts, initially majoring in theater at the University of Washington. Her academic pursuit of poetry began when she was accepted into the prestigious writing program at NYU’s graduate school.
Since receiving her MFA, Limón has racked up various literary accolades. Notably, she won the 2005 Autumn House Poetry Prize and The National Book Critics Circle Award. Today, she serves as an instructor in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In tandem with her writing career, Limón is also the host of a poetry-centered podcast, The Slowdown.
Limón has published six poetry books, the beautiful covers of which were created by her mother, Stacia Brady, a talented painter.
The most recent of her publications is The Hurting Kind, released in May. Per the touching synopsis, this poetry collection hones in on a theme of “interconnectedness” – resounding “with connection and the delight of being in the world.”
It’s not only a great summer read, but it’s a perfect introduction to Limón’s stunning verse of observation and reflection.
Also of note is her 2015 release, Bright Dead Things, a finalist for the National Book Award. This collection of insightful but accessible poetry examines “the dangerous thrill of living in a world you must leave one day and the search to find something that is ‘disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.'”
Drawing from personal losses and transforming experiences, Bright Dead Things is a poetry staple for anyone’s bookshelf.
Besides these two highlights, her additional poetic works – The Carrying, Sharks in the Rivers, Lucky Wreck, and The Big Fake World are all equally moving and essential reads. If you’re in need of a poetry fix this summer, check out whichever one speaks most to you!
Succeeding Joy Harjo, who has held the position for three consecutive years, Limón’s tenure as U.S Poet Laureate begins September 29th. To kick off her exciting new role, she will hold a reading of her poetry at the Coolidge Auditorium in the Library of Congress.
So far, Limón has emphasized her two vital messages to transcend beyond her poetry into the world. Firstly, she brings forth an environmental call to heal our relationship with nature and the earth. Secondly, she intends to advocate how poetry can serve to “reclaim our humanity.” Well aware that she is stepping up during a time of contention, heartbreak, and trauma for many Americans, Limón elucidates the importance of poetry “as a way to connect feelings, emotions, and even stillness.”
No doubt, Ada Limón’s poetic message is one we all need more than ever. She is beyond worthy of this prestigious honor and will be a vital voice in raising national awareness around the integral human connection achieved through reading, writing, and sharing poetry.
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