From National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Ada Limón comes The Carrying—her most powerful collection yet.
Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance. A daughter tends to aging parents. A woman struggles with infertility—“What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?”—and a body seized by pain and vertigo as well as ecstasy. A nation convulses: “Every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal.” And still Limón shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives. “Fine then, / I’ll take it,” she writes. “I’ll take it all.”
In Bright Dead Things, Limón showed us a heart “giant with power, heavy with blood”—“the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it’s going to come in first.” In her follow-up collection, that heart is on full display—even as The Carrying continues further and deeper into the bloodstream, following the hard-won truth of what it means to live in an imperfect world.
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Praise and Prizes
“[Ada Limón’s] new collection is her best yet, a much needed shot of if not hope, then perseverance amidst much uncertainty.”
“Gorgeous, thought-provoking . . . This fearless collections shows a poet that can appreciate life’s surprises.”
“A stunning collection. . . . Limón writes movingly about finding the spectacular in the everyday. . . . A reverent, extraordinary take on the world. Don’t miss this life-affirming collection.”
“This is the kind of poetry that strikes that rare balance: deftly crafted and profound but also completely accessible. The collection is about creation, death and everything in between, with so much attention to the thrumming world that just by reading it you become more aware, more in tune with the life around you.”
“Ada Limón is one of the country’s finest poets.”
“In her dazzling, precise, transformative collection, The Carrying, Ada Limón offers us meditations on mortality, womanhood, the body, and that which grows in the earth, all the while slyly positing: How we should treat each other in this precarious life? Like humans, is her answer. Like humans.”
“In her powerful new collection, Ada Limón asks: ‘What if, instead of carrying // a child, I am supposed to carry grief?’ And later: ‘isn’t there still something singing?’ To which I say: yes. In these poems, joy and longing and grief sing with a music that—regardless of what I am burdened or blessed to carry—makes me want to live passionately and fully in the difficult world. The Carrying is a gift.”
“Ada Limón teaches me that language can still surprise me. She shows me that the juxtaposition of words not previously joined can catch me off-guard, make me feel that shimmer of resonance, of curiosity.”
“It is no wonder that Ada Limón’s wonderful new book, The Carrying, is full of goldfinches and strawberries and dandelions and hostas and, as she writes, ‘all good things that come from the ground.’ It’s also no wonder that it’s full of the life that death makes. And the living that dying is. For this book is a garden. And like a garden, it will nourish you. It will feed you.”