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Poet Laureate Ada Limón Visits Atlanta

Skye attends a poetry reading by United States Poet Laureate Ada Limón at Emory University in Atlanta. 

“Often, it’s just a mystery,” said United States Poet Laureate Ada Limón when asked how a poem gets its start. 

Last September, Limón became the 24th Poet Laureate of the U.S. She is the first Latina ever to receive the honor, which is bestowed by the Librarian of Congress. 

The purpose of the role is to heighten appreciation for the art of poetry. It is the highest recognition for a poet in the U.S.

Limón’s poems are centered on an appreciation for life and human connections. Nature and the simple things that take place every day are a chief source of inspiration. 

“I had a moment when I was listening to the sound of people rolling their trash cans out,” she said. The noise reminded her of the rumble of thunder, which inspired her poem called “Dead Stars.”

The poem reads, in part:

We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out
       the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.


“They’re like dreams you would have, but poetry,” Irie McGarrah, pictured with Skye, said about Limón’s poems.


On February 11, Limón shared her poetry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Afterwards, she signed books and answered questions from members of the audience, which numbered about 1,000. 

Instead of writing about the hardships she faces, she said, she looks for common ground. The theme of our shared humanity is woven throughout her poems.  

“If you’re a writer of color,” she said, “people often ask you to write about your trauma. I choose to write about groundhogs.”

After the presentation, I spoke with a few members of the audience. “They’re very detailed and expressive,” Irie McGarrah, 9, said about Limón’s poems. “They’re like dreams you would have, but poetry.”

Maeve Terry, 8, also enjoyed the poems. “They were interesting and calming,” she said. 

When asked her advice for young people who want to write their own poems, Limón said, “Pay attention to the world around you, and [interact] with the natural world.”


Photos courtesy of the author