I have accidently fallen in love with another poet. It happens. The timing is perfect: It’s April, National Poetry Month. (Do you ever wonder who makes these kinds of proclamations? Could we declare a National Fruit Pie Month, or a National Dark Chocolate Month?)
Fortunately, in these days of physical distancing, it’s a literary love and not a romantic one. Ada Limón’s collection of poems, The Carrying, was on my library Hold list. I can’t remember where the recommendation originated, but with the libraries closed indefinitely, I’ve had the luxury of time to enjoy it.
It’s not surprising that The Carrying won the National Book Critics Award and was named A Notable Book by the American Library Association in 2018. I found myself wanting to share many of the poems with others. Limón’s tone is narrative; some of poems are the result of a letter/poem correspondance with Natalie Diaz. The first New Yorker on-line poetry column featured their poetry collaboration.
The collection is beautifully structured. It begins quietly, with The Name, a brief poem about Eve encountering the animals in Paradise. It ends with Sparrow, What did you Say? where we find the narrator in her own garden, listening to bird song. Limón moves easily between societal and personal concerns, showing us how they are inextricably connected. Her voice is honest – unflinchingly so – and compassionate.
Enjoy listening to Ada Limón as she reads a couple of the poems from The Carrying.
Despite very limited shelf space, I want my own copy of The Carrying. I look forward to exploring her four (4!) other poetry collections.