The Hurting Kind
An astonishing collection about interconnectedness—between the human and nonhuman, ancestors and ourselves—from National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ada Limón.
“I have always been too sensitive, a weeper / from a long line of weepers,” writes Limón. “I am the hurting kind.” What does it mean to be the hurting kind? To be sensitive not only to the world’s pain and joys, but to the meanings that bend in the scrim between the natural world and the human world? To divine the relationships between us all? To perceive ourselves in other beings—and to know that those beings are resolutely their own, that they “do not / care to be seen as symbols”?
With Limón’s remarkable ability to trace thought, The Hurting Kind explores those questions—incorporating others’ stories and ways of knowing, making surprising turns, and always reaching a place of startling insight. These poems slip through the seasons, teeming with horses and kingfishers and the gleaming eyes of fish. And they honor parents, stepparents, and grandparents: the sacrifices made, the separate lives lived, the tendernesses extended to a hurting child; the abundance, in retrospect, of having two families.
Along the way, we glimpse loss. There are flashes of the pandemic, ghosts whose presence manifests in unexpected memories and the mysterious behavior of pets left behind. But The Hurting Kind is filled, above all, with connection and the delight of being in the world. “Slippery and waddle thieving my tomatoes still / green in the morning’s shade,” writes Limón of a groundhog in her garden, “she is doing what she can to survive.”
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Praise and Prizes
“Limón is a poet of ecstatic revelation. Her poetry feels fast, full of details, often playful, and driven by conversational voice.”
“Limón is one of the country’s finest poets. . . . She performs a near-miraculous feat in balancing razor-sharp imagery with deep ambivalence.”
“[Limón] writes with remarkable directness about the painful experiences normally packaged in euphemism and, in doing so, invites the readers to enter the world where abundant joy exists alongside and simultaneous to loss.”
“Limón’s poems are like fires: charring the page, but leaving a smoke that remains past the close of the book.”
“Limón doesn’t write as if she needs us. She writes as if she wants us. Her words reveal, coax, pull, see us. . . . [She is] a poet with the most generous of eyes.”
“Lyrical, tender, and knowing . . . Limón’s poetry connects the personal and the universal.”
“With the knowing directness of a letter, Limón’s poems speak to the marrow of our everyday condition . . . The power of Limón’s unflinching examination of grief and loss is only surpassed by her love of beauty and compassion.”