Ada Limón

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Ada Limón
Limón in 2022
Limón in 2022
Born (1976-03-28) March 28, 1976 (age 47)
Sonoma, California
Occupation24th United States Poet Laureate
Alma materUniversity of Washington
New York University

Ada Limón (born March 28, 1976) is an American poet.[1] On 12 July 2022, she was named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States by the Librarian of Congress.[2][3][4] This made her the first Latina to be Poet Laureate of the United States.[5]

Early years and education[edit]

Limón, who is of Mexican-American descent, grew up in Sonoma, California. She attended the drama school at the University of Washington, where she studied theatre. After taking writing courses from professors including Colleen J. McElroy, she went on to receive her MFA from New York University in 2001,[6] where she studied with Sharon Olds, Philip Levine, Marie Howe, Mark Doty, Agha Shahid Ali, and Tom Sleigh.

Upon graduation, Limón received a fellowship to live and write at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In 2003, she received a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and in the same year won the Chicago Literary Award for Poetry.[citation needed]


Limón in 2019

After 12 years in New York City, where she worked for various magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, GQ, and Travel + Leisure, Limón now lives in both Lexington, Kentucky and Sonoma, California, where she writes and teaches.[6]

Limón's first book, Lucky Wreck, was chosen by Jean Valentine as the winner of the Autumn House Poetry Prize in 2005, while her second book, This Big Fake World, was the winner of the Pearl Poetry Prize in 2006. The two books came out within less than a year of each other. In a 2014 article in Compose magazine, she stated: "I went from having no books at all, to having two in the span of a year. I felt like I had won the lottery, well, without the money. I suppose, in my life, I’ve never done things the ordinary way. I’m either deep in the bottom of the well or nowhere near water."[7] She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte low-residency M.F.A. program, and the "24 Pearl Street" online program for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

When her third book, Sharks in the Rivers (Milkweed Editions, 2010) was released, a reviewer writing in The Brooklyn Rail observed: "Unlike much contemporary poetry, Limón’s work isn’t text-derivative or deconstructivist. She personalizes her homilies, stamping them with the authenticity of invention and self-discovery."[8] Limón's fourth book, Bright Dead Things, was released in 2015. She was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry. Her 2018 book, The Carrying, subsequently won a National Book Critics Circle Award.[9]

Her poem "State Bird" appeared in the June 2, 2014 issue of The New Yorker, and her poem "How to Triumph Like a Girl" (2013), which portrays different aspects of female horses, was awarded the 2015 Pushcart Prize.[10][11] Her work has also appeared in the Harvard Review and the Pleiades.[12]

It was announced on January 30, 2023, that she will be writing an original poem dedicated to NASA's Europa Clipper. The Europa Clipper will launch in 2024, and by 2030, will be orbiting Jupiter. Limón's poem will be engraved onto the craft.[13]

She has been a beneficiary of the Kentucky Foundation for Women.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2013, Limón served as a judge for the National Book Award for Poetry.[14]

In July 2022, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed her the 24th United States Poet Laureate for the term of 2022-2023.[4] Hayden renewed Limón's term for another two years in April 2023.[15]

Year Title Award Result Ref.
2005 Lucky Wreck Autumn House Poetry Prize Winner [16]
2006 Big Fake World Pearl Poetry Prize Winner [17]
2015 Bright Dead Things National Book Award for Poetry Finalist [18][3]
National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry Finalist [3]
2018 The Carrying National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry Winner [19][3]
2019 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Finalist [20]
2023 The Hurting Kind Griffin Poetry Prize Finalist [21]



  • Lucky Wreck, Autumn House Press, 2006 ISBN 978-1932870084
  • This Big Fake World, Pearl Editions, 2006 ISBN 978-1-888219-35-7
  • Sharks in the rivers, Milkweed Editions, 2010 ISBN 978-1-57131-438-3
  • Bright Dead Things, Milkweed Editions, 2015 ISBN 978-1-57131-925-8
  • The Carrying, Milkweed Editions, 2018 ISBN 978-1-57131-512-0
  • The Hurting Kind, Milkweed Editions, 2022 ISBN 978-1-63955-049-4
  • Shelter: A Love Letter To Trees, Scribd Originals, 2022 ISBN 978-1-09444-438-3
  • 99¢ Heart, Big Game Books, 2007
  • What Sucks Us In Will Surely Swallow Us Whole, Cinematheque Press, 2009

Recorded Poetry Readings and Talks[edit]

List of poems
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Sharks in the rivers 2010 Limón, Ada (2010). Sharks in the rivers. Milkweed Editions.
State Bird 2014 Limón, Ada (June 2, 2014). "State Bird". The New Yorker. 90 (15): 30.
The Burying Beetle 2017 Limón, Ada (February 27, 2017). "The Burying Beetle". The New Yorker. 93 (2): 39.
Overpass 2017 Limón, Ada (December 4, 2017). "Overpass". The New Yorker. 93 (39): 27.
Privacy 2021 Limón, Ada (March 22, 2021). "Privacy". The New Yorker. 97 (5): 51.


  1. ^ "Ada Limon On Poetry Collection, 'The Carrying'". Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Meghan Collins (July 12, 2022). "Ada Limón named new U.S. poet laureate". NPR. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Schaub, Michael (July 12, 2022). "Ada Limón Is New U.S. Poet Laureate". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Librarian of Congress Names Ada Limón the Nation's 24th U.S. Poet Laureate". Library of Congress Newsroom. July 12, 2022.
  5. ^ Novogratz, Narciso (July 28, 2022). "Ada Limón is the Next Poet Laureate".
  6. ^ a b Harris, Elizabeth A. (May 6, 2022). "Ada Limón Makes Poems for a Living". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  7. ^ Windsor, Suzannah (April 24, 2014). "An Interview with Poet Ada Limón". Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  8. ^ Wright, Jeffrey Cyphers (December 7, 2010). "Review of Ada Limón’s Sharks in the Rivers. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Ulin, David L. (May 13, 2022). "Ada Limón is the poet of our lonely, terrifying moment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  10. ^ "From her Lexington backyard, poet Ada Limón's latest book finds light amid despair". Lexington Herald Reader. May 20, 2022. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  11. ^ Foust, Rebecca (May 29, 2016). "Poetry Sunday: 'How to Triumph Like a Girl' by Ada Limón". Women's Voices for Change. Archived from the original on May 5, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  12. ^ Hijazi, Jennifer (August 14, 2018). "'The human capacity to carry many things at once'". PBS. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  13. ^ "Poem by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón Will Ride to Europa on NASA Spacecraft". NASA's Europa Clipper. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  14. ^ "2013 National Book Awards". NBF. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  15. ^ "U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón Appointed for a Historic Two-Year Second Term". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  16. ^ "Poetry Contest". Autumn House Press. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  17. ^ Burack, Emily. "A Guide of Ada Limón's Poetry". Town & Country. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  18. ^ "Bright Dead Things". National Book Foundation. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  19. ^ Hillel Italie (March 14, 2018). "Zadie Smith, Anna Burns among winners of critics prizes". The Washington Post. The Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 15, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "Announcing the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists". PEN America. January 15, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  21. ^ Cassandra Drudi, "Susan Musgrave, Iman Mersal among Griffin Poetry Prize finalists". Quill & Quire, April 19, 2023.

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