Ada Limón is named the next poet laureate

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The Carrying.
When Ada Limón quit her marketing job to try writing full time, she assumed that would mean writing fiction. So she spent her working hours imagining the lives of other people. Then, she said, she would plunge into poetry, where she could be herself.اضافة اعلان

She never published a novel. But as a poet, she has been awarded the highest honor in her field: On Tuesday, the Library of Congress announced she will become the next poet laureate of the US.

Ada Limón, the 24th US poet laureate, at her home in Lexington, Kentucky Poetry, she said, can help the nation “become whole again” in a fraught, divided moment. (Photo: NYT)

Limón, who has published six books, will begin her tenure this fall as the 24th poet laureate, a position that has been held by some of the country’s most celebrated poets, including Louise Glück, Juan Felipe Herrera, Robert Hass and Tracy K. Smith.

The poet laureate has few required duties, but becomes an ambassador for the form. Smith focused on increasing access to poetry in rural areas, for example. Joy Harjo, the current poet laureate and a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, created a project called “Living Nations, Living Words”, which included a map that highlights Native American poets and their work.

Limón is just starting to think about a project she might pursue, but she has ideas about how poetry can help at such a fraught time in the US.

“Right now, so often we are going numb to grief and numb to tragedy and numb to crisis,” she said.

“Poetry is a way back in, to recognizing that we are feeling human beings. And feeling grief and feeling trauma can actually allow us to feel joy again.”

In a poem called “Dead Stars”, she encourages her readers to lean into their strength:

Look, we are not unspectacular things. We’ve come this far, survived this much. What would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.

Limón, 46, who is originally from California, lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, Lucas Marquardt; their pug, Lily Bean; and an exceptionally old cat named Olive. She hosts a poetry podcast called “The Slowdown” — which was started by Smith during her time as poet laureate — and is on the faculty in the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte, in North Carolina. She has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and a National Book Critics Circle Award, and has been a finalist for the National Book Award.

Her melodic poems, which embrace the orality of poetry and language, often touch on the natural world, which she uses as much more than just a setting. Trees, for example, become characters in her poems; sometimes they dance. (The American linden sways nonplussed by the storm, / a bounce here, a shimmy there, just shaking like music / left over from the night’s end wafting into the avenues before sleep.) It is in this context, too, that she hopes to be an ambassador.

“I think that we have lost our reciprocal relationship with the earth,” she said, “and poetry has the ability to draw attention to the natural world, even if it is the tree in your backyard or the pigeon on the street.”

The post of poet laureate is an apolitical position, which might seem limiting in the face of the country’s sharp political divide. But the restriction, she said, does not feel like a challenge, because of poetry’s endless possibilities.

“It has the possibility to show us rage, to connect with our fear, to celebrate joy, to make room for the whole spectrum of human emotions,” she said.

“Great poetry is the place where we come to get the strength to heal, to become whole again and to then recommit to the world.”

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