Ada Limón

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Ada Limón
Born (1976-03-28) March 28, 1976 (age 42)
Alma materUniversity of Washington,
New York University

Ada Limón (born March 28, 1976) is an American poet.


Limón grew up in Sonoma, California, before attending The University of Washington where she studied theater at the University of Washington School of Drama. After taking writing courses from professors, including Colleen J. McElroy, she went on to receive her MFA from New York University in 2001, where she studied with Sharon Olds, Philip Levine, Marie Howe, Mark Doty, Agha Shahid Ali, and Tom Sleigh. Her graduate class at NYU included the noted poets Jennifer L. Knox, Gregory Pardlo, Jason Schneiderman, Kazim Ali, and Kathleen Graber.[citation needed]

Upon graduation, she received a fellowship to live and write at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. 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]

She has also been a beneficiary of the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

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


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."[1] 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.

Her third book, Sharks in the Rivers, was released in 2010 from Milkweed Editions. At that time, 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."[2] Limón's fourth book, Bright Dead Things, was released in 2015. She was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry.

While Limón is still at work on two fiction projects as well as non-fiction pieces, her poems continue to be published widely. Her poem "State Bird" appeared in the June 2, 2014 issue of The New Yorker, and her poem "How to Triumph Like a Girl" was recently awarded the Pushcart Prize. Another of her poems, "How to Triumph Like a Girl", which portrays the different aspects of being a lady horse, was published in 2013. Her work has also appeared in the Harvard Review and the Pleiades.

Limon served as a judge for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry.



  • Limón, Ada (2006). Lucky wreck. Autumn House Press.
  • This Big Fake World, Pearl Editions, 2006 ISBN 978-1-888219-35-7
  • — (2010). Sharks in the rivers. Milkweed Editions.
  • Bright Dead Things, Milkweed Editions, 2015 ISBN 978-1-57131-925-8
  • The Carrying: Poems, Milkweed Editions, 2018 ISBN 978-1-57131-512-0
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.
Overpass 2017 Limón, Ada (December 4, 2017). "Overpass". The New Yorker. 93 (39): 27.


  1. ^ Windsor, Suzannah (April 24, 2014). "An Interview with Poet Ada Limón". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  2. ^ Wright, Jeffrey Cyphers (December 7, 2010). "Review of Ada Limón’s Sharks in the Rivers. Retrieved 2017-06-13.

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