Ada Limón Named U.S. Poet Laureate

Ada Limón

Ada Limón has been named the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2022-2023. Limón will begin her year-long term with a public reading of her work at the library on September 29. She succeeds Joy Harjo, who served three terms in the position (2019-2022).

"Ada Limón is a poet who connects," Hayden said. "Her accessible, engaging poems ground us in where we are and who we share our world with. They speak of intimate truths, of the beauty and heartbreak that is living, in ways that help us move forward."

Limón commented: "What an incredible honor to be named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States. 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. This recognition belongs to the teachers, poets, librarians and ancestors from all over the world that have been lifting up poetry for years. 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."

Limón has published six poetry collections, including The Carrying (Milkweed Editions), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry; Bright Dead Things, a finalist for the National Book Award and the NBCC Award; Sharks in the Rivers; Lucky Wreck (Autumn House); and This Big Fake World (Pearl Editions). Her newest poetry collection, The Hurting Kind, was recently published as part of a three-book deal with Milkweed Editions that includes the publication of Beast: An Anthology of Animal Poems, featuring work by major poets over the last century, followed by a volume of new and selected poems. Limón is currently the host of the podcast series The Slowdown from American Public Media, which was launched as part of Tracy K. Smith's poet laureateship in 2019.

Daniel Slager, publisher & CEO of Milkweed Editions, observed: "When I first came across Sharks in the Rivers, Ada's third collection of poems, in 2008, I was struck by the integrity of her vision and the lyricism of her voice. It was a great pleasure to work with Ada to publish that book, and it has been deeply gratifying to see her artistry and her readership grow with subsequent acclaimed collections....

"Ada is among the most generous authors I've worked with over the years, and along this journey, she has moved and connected with many thousands of readers, exemplifying the power of poetry to illuminate the human experience, as well as the more-than-human world. At a time in our nation's history when poetry is more vital and more necessary than ever before, Ada is an inspired selection for this role. This is, then, a great day for Ada Limón, and for the United States."

In a message headlined "Local girl makes good," Andy Weinberger, owner of Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif, wrote, in part: "First, a little history. Ada Limón came to work for us at the tender age of fifteen. She lived right across the street from Readers’ Books in an apartment over an art gallery, so her commute was mercifully short.  

"We hired her because she knocked on our door, even before we opened for business. We were still unpacking books, still assembling shelves. My memory is that we were pretty unmoored back then, bewildered like first-time parents: we were so new to the book biz we didn’t own a job application to hand her. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to us that we might soon need employees. That she had taken the initiative and asked, well, that was enough.

"Ada stayed with us through high school. I like to think that we matured together, that her enthusiasm and humor and charm and love of language provided the perfect mix for our customers to see who we were, who we aspired to be as booksellers. I also knew, even then, that Ada was destined for more than Readers' Books. Not to get too metaphorical about it, but everything she touched invariably turned to gold, every time she stepped up to the plate, she hit it out of the park. Which is why it came as no surprise to me to see that she has just been named our country’s 24th National Poet Laureate, succeeding Joy Harjo."

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