In this episode of The Archive Project, we feature Ada Limón from the closing night of the 2022-23 Portland Arts & Lectures series.
Limón is the author of six books of poetry and a finalist for numerous prizes for her work. In 2022, Limon published a collection of new poems The Hurting Kind and was also named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States, at the age of 46. Of this recognition Limón said, “Again and again, I have been witness to poetry’s immense power to reconnect us to the world, to allow us to heal, to love, to grieve, to remind us of the full spectrum of human emotion… I am humbled by this opportunity to work in the service of poetry and to amplify poetry’s ability to restore our humanity and our relationship to the world around us.”
In her talk, Limón takes us back to her lonely childhood in Sonoma, California where she first connects with nature, begins to discover the power of what she calls “paying attention,” and first falls in love with language. Throughout her talk, and throughout her work, Limón calls on us to slow down and really look at the world, and our lives, as a way to make sense of them. To actually take a moment to breathe. She demonstrates over and over again how poetry, with its attention to details, its structure of line breaks, calls the world’s details into greater focus, providing as she says, no answers but that rather provides an “unclaimed space for human fullness.” In making her case for poetry, Limón is unpretentious, accessible, funny, dark, insightful and ironic.
“Read poetry, and you will feel as if the doors of the world are opening.”
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Ada Limón is the author of six books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her book Bright Dead Things was nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her work has been supported most recently by a Guggenheim Fellowship. She was the host of the critically-acclaimed poetry podcast, The Slowdown. She grew up in Sonoma, California and now lives in Lexington, Kentucky where she writes and teaches remotely. Her new book of poetry, The Hurting Kind, is out now from Milkweed Editions. She is the 24th Poet Laureate of The United States.