Synopses & Reviews
After the loss of her stepmother to cancer, Ada Limón chose to quit her job with a major travel magazine in New York, move to the mountains of Kentucky, and disappear. Yet, in the wake of death and massive transition, she found unexpected love, both for a man and for a place, all the while uncovering the core unity between death and beauty that drives our world. I am beautiful. I am full of love. I am dying,” the author writes. Its this narrative of transformation and acceptance that suffuses these poems. Unflinching and unafraid, Limón takes her reader on a journey into the most complex and dynamic realms of existence and identity, all while tracing a clear narrative of renewal.
Throughout, the poet lulls us into the security of her lines, only to cut into us where we least expect it. This is not New York and I am not important,” she writes midway through a poem about her new home. A poem opens with the revelation that Six horses died in a tractor-trailer fire. / There, thats the hard part. I wanted / to tell you straight away so we could / grieve together.” Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in a world you know you have to leave one day, and the search to find something that is ultimately disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.”
"LimÃ³n (Sharks in the Rivers) goes into deep introspection mode in a fourth collection in which her speakers struggle with loss and alienation. As her poems move across varied geographies (New York, Kentucky, California), LimÃ³n narrates experiences in bewildering landscapes that should otherwise feel familiar. Perhaps feelings of alienation result from intersections of identity; perhaps they are the cost of memory, a theme woven through each of the collection's four sections. Memory inhibits LimÃ³n's speakers' acclimation to change: 'You're the muscle/ I cut from the bone and still the bone remembers.' Alienated, she returns to places and memories that are not familiar. 'Bellow' exemplifies a palpable grief over feelings of loss and lost-ness. In it, LimÃ³n's ungendered speaker, estranged from any surroundings, is rendered unable to communicate feelings of loss. Using a litany of dark imagery, LimÃ³n's speaker maps where language fails, ending the poem with the insinuation of an undefinable, haunting sound, as if the speaker is a wandering phantom. In 'Home Fires,' the poet wonders, 'How could I have imagined this? Mortal me,/ brutal disaster born out of so much greed.' Recurring instances of anxiety about mortality in LimÃ³n's poems complicate experiences so richly written and felt. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Bright Dead Things
examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in a world you know you have to leave one day, and the search to find something that is ultimately disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.”
A book of bravado and introspection, of 21st century feminist swagger and harrowing terror and loss, this fourth collection considers how we build our identities out of place and human contacttracing in intimate detail the various ways the speakers sense of self both shifts and perseveres as she moves from New York City to rural Kentucky, loses a dear parent, ages past the capriciousness of youth, and falls in love. Limón has often been a poet who wears her heart on her sleeve, but in these extraordinary poems that heart becomes a huge beating genius machine” striving to embrace and understand the fullness of the present moment. I am beautiful. I am full of love. I am dying,” the poet writes. Building on the legacies of forebears such as Frank OHara, Sharon Olds, and Mark Doty, Limóns work is consistently generous and accessiblethough every observed moment feels complexly thought, felt, and lived.
About the Author
is the author of four poetry collections. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker
, The New York Times
, American Poetry Review
, Oxford American
, and Guernica
. She lives in Kentucky and California.