“In Ada Limón’s Bright Dead Things, there’s a fierce jazz and sass (“this life is a fist / of fast wishes caught by nothing, / but the fishhook of tomorrow’s tug.”) and there’s sadness—a grappling with death and loss that forces the imagination to a deep response. The radio in her new, rural home warns “stay safe and seek shelter” and yet the heart seeks love, risk, and strangeness—and finds it everywhere.” —Gregory Orr
"A poet whose verse exudes warmth and compassion, Limón is at the height of her creative powers, and Bright Dead Things is her most gorgeous book of poems." — Rigoberto González, Los Angeles Review of Books
"In the process of writing this book I realized how much I was longing for some of this honesty and brutal truth, and also joy and light and life and re-commitment to this world."—Ada Limón
Ada Limón is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, and one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year by The New York Times. Her other books include Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program, and the 24Pearl Street online program for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer splitting her time between Lexington, Kentucky and Sonoma, California.
How to Triumph Like a Girl
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to tug my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.
Bright Dead Things (2015)—Finalist for the National Book Award; finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, named a Top-Ten Book of Poetry in 2015 by the New York Times.
Sharks in the Rivers (2010)
The Big Fake World (2005)—Winner of the 2005 Pearl Prize
Lucky Wreck (2005)—Winner of the 2005 Autumn House Poetry Prize
Ada Limón’s Website
Interview with NBCC Poetry Finalist Ada Limón
The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Ada Limón
Poets & Writers: Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón
Academy of American Poets
"Oh Please, Let it Be Lightning"