I finally finished Ada Limón’s INCREDIBLE poetry collection “The Carrying“! It took me far too long to read these gorgeous prose poems because as soon as I started, I wanted to delay finishing it so I could really take my time reading each piece. I spread out the progress over a year and a half and can honestly say I’ve already started re-reading the collection. Ada is a wildly compassionate, gentle poet, and these poems span an array of topics, including loss, birds, road trips, and relationships. And most importantly to me at least, her poems soothe that place that is always aching in our tumultuous, violent world.
Many of my favorite pieces incorporate nature as part of day-to-day life.
“So / much of America belongs to the trees…” she writes. In “Dead Stars”: “I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.” What is life if not a constant re-weaving? Stitching ourselves back together after every bloody headline, every oppressive piece of legislation.
“Reader, I want to
say: Don’t die. Even when silvery fish after fish
comes back belly up, and the country plummets
into a crepitating crater of hatred, isn’t there still
These poems also offer hope, even in the darkest depths of loss, infertility, and mourning. “Just this morning, I saw seven cardinals brash and bold / as sin in a leafless tree.”
I love that Ada feels like a friend at all times, someone who is telling you these poems because she knows you need to hear them. And then, after she’s reveled in vulnerability and covered everything from bombings to beetles, she reminds you what it’s all for:
“I can’t help it. I will
never get over making everything
such a big deal.”
“[Y]our bones are my bones, / and isn’t that enough?”
If you like poems of wisdom, poems of nature, and poems of life, snag a copy of “The Carrying” (Milkweed Editions, 2018).
Many, many thanks to Jordan at Milkweed Books for the review copy.