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Ada Limón: The Carrying w/ Camille T. Dungy

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"For this book is a garden. And like a garden, it will nourish you. It will feed you.” —Ross Gay

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“Exquisite . . . A powerful example of how to carry the things that define us without being broken by them.” —WASHINGTON POST

Available for the first time in paperback, The Carrying—winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award—is Ada Limón’s most powerful collection yet.

Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance. A daughter tends to aging parents. A woman struggles with infertility—“What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?”—and a body seized by pain and vertigo as well as ecstasy. A nation convulses: “Every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal.” And still Limón shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives. “Fine then, / I’ll take it,” she writes. “I’ll take it all.”

In Bright Dead Things, Limón showed us a heart “giant with power, heavy with blood”—“the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it’s going to come in first.” In her follow-up collection, that heart is on full display—even as The Carrying continues further and deeper into the bloodstream, following the hard-won truth of what it means to live in an imperfect world.

Ada Limón is the author of five collections, most recently The Carrying, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and was named one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of 2015 by The New York Times.

Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade, winner of the Colorado Book Award, and the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood and History, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has edited three anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. Dungy's work has appeared in Best American Poetry, 100 Best African American Poems, Best American Essays, Best American Travel Essays, the Pushcart Anthology and more than 30 other anthologies, plus dozens of print and online venues including Poetry, American Poetry Review, VQR, Literary Hub, The Paris Review, and Poets.org. Her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, and NEA Fellowships in both poetry and prose. She lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter, where she is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University.

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