Life speeds up for Slowdown podcast host: Ada Limón is new US poet laureate

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Ada Limón has become the 24th poet laureate of the United States. She succeeds Joy Harjo, who served as poet laureate for an unprecedented three terms. Limón, who is aged 46 and is of Mexican descent, is the host of the acclaimed podcast The Slowdown and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She grew up in Sonoma, California. She is the author of six books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her new book of poetry, The Hurting Kind, is out now from Milkweed Editions.

Talking about her latest collection, in an interview with Pen America last month, she spoke about gardening, saying: “I suppose I still think I don’t have any control over the garden … That’s what excites me the most. Those tenacious weeds that grow strong and rubbery overnight. The animals that come and go. The birds that take over the hanging plants to make a nest. The spiders in between the bricks. I think that need for nature to go on being … nature is what was with me so much when I was writing these poems. It’s with me now. I can’t water a hanging plant because I have a whole nest of fledglings just outside the door. I’m sick at home on the couch and I could be feeling sorry for myself, and yet I’m excited that I might be home to watch them fly for the first time.”

Here are some lines from one of her poems, ‘The Contract Says: We'd Like the Conversation to be Bilingual’:


Don’t read the one where you

are just like us. Born to a green house,


garden, don’t tell us how you picked

tomatoes and ate them in the dirt


watching vultures pick apart another

bird’s bones in the road. Tell us the one


about your father stealing hubcaps

after a colleague said that’s what his


kind did.


You can also read her poem ‘The Hurting Kind’ here




◄ Poems by Ted Hughes written after the death of Assia Wevill and their daughter Shura to be auctioned

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