Ada Limón begins her night at Inprint Houston with a reading from her new book of poetry, The Hurting Kind. She tells us before she begins that she will read ten poems. We can count down, she says, if we wish. We laugh.
She reads her ten poems (Or does she? Is anyone really counting?) She shares poems about moments, the moment her grandfather caught on fire, a moment of connection through sports, a moment with a groundhog that she tells us about in "Give Me This:"
"...A stranger writes to request my thoughts
I watch the groundhog more closely and a sound escapes
me, a small spasm of joy I did not imagine
when I woke. She is a funny creature and earnest,
and she is doing what she can to survive."
Limón stretches out moments from the life and death of her grandfather in her title poem, "The Hurting Kind:"
"...Before my grandfather died, I asked him what sort
of horse he had growing up. He said,
Just a horse. My horse, with such tenderness it
rubbed the bones in my ribs all wrong.
I have always been too sensitive, a weeper
from a long line of weepers.
I am the hurting kind. I keep searching for proof..."
Lovely, lovely poems. Limón is a master of moments.
Sometimes great writers can put the words down beautifully on the page but fumble when speaking in public. Not so Limón. Perhaps it's Limón's theater background. Perhaps it helps to have a literate interviewer like Roberto Tejada. Limón snags us with her poems but she reels us in when she reflects on her poems:
"If I'm really listening to the world, it's talking."
"Enter the world through attention."
"I think (poetry) can change us."
She leaves us with this:
"How little we understand anything.
But maybe we are not here to understand, but to witness."
From the Inprint Houston website: Ada Limón will serve as the 2022-2023 U.S. Poet Laureate. About her work, Tracy K. Smith in The Guardian writes, “Limón is a poet of ecstatic revelation,” and Richard Blanco adds, “Both soft and tender, enormous and resounding, her poetic gestures entrance and transfix.” Limón is the author of six books of poetry, including Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Bright Dead Things, which was nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She is also the author of the National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Carrying. According to The Washington Post, “Evocative dreams and pivotal memories make this collection a powerful example of how to carry the things that define us without being broken by them.
For more of Ada Limón, you might like to listen to her interview with host Krista Tippett at On Being.
For more photos, link up at Wordless Wednesday, Comedy Plus, Messymimi's Meanderings, Keith's Ramblings, Create With Joy, Wild Bird Wednesday, and My Corner of the World.
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love or just share anything word-ish. It was first created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.
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