Ada Limón Named New American Poet Laureate
Ada Limón was named the nation’s 24th poet laureate on Tuesday by the Library of Congress.
She will succeed Joy Harjo, who had held the post since 2019, in September. Harjo was only the second Poet Laureate to be nominated for a third term; Robert Pinsky also holds this honor.
Limon’s latest collection, The hurtful kind, was released in May. In a review of the book, NPR’s Jeevika Verma notes, “As in her previous notable collections – Carrying won the National Book Critics Circle Award and before that, Shiny Dead Things was a National Book Award finalist – Limón is acutely aware of the natural world of The hurtful kind. And she has a knack for acknowledging its little mysteries in order to fully grasp its history and its abundance.”
Limón has published six books of poetry and is the host of the podcast Slowdown. She also teaches in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte.
In a press release, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said, “Ada Limón is a poet who connects. Her accessible and engaging poems ground us in where we are and with whom we share our world. They speak of intimate truths, of the beauty and sorrow that lives, in a way that helps us move on.”
Limón described receiving the news of his All Things Considered nomination. She said thoughts of previous poets to hold the position crossed her mind.
“For me, it was like ‘how can I even stand in this line’,” she said. “And so I took a deep breath, and said ‘yes’ and we all laughed together. An incredible honor and the shock of a lifetime.”
And Limón reflects on being chosen for the job at this particular time in United States history.
“I think it’s really important to remember that even in this particularly difficult time, a divided time, poetry can really help us reclaim our humanity,” Limón told All Things Considered. “I think we have to remember that we have the full spectrum of human emotions. And I think going through that grief and that trauma, that anger, that rage — through poetry, I think we can actually remember that on the other side there is also contentment, joy, a little peace from time to time, and that all of these are part of the same spectrum. And that without one, we do not have the other.
The Library of Congress has had a Consulting Poet since 1937. In 1985, an act of Congress formally established the role that is now known as the Consulting Poet Laureate in Poetry. The position is appointed annually.