The Carrying by Ada Limón

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

This was my second time reading The Carrying by Ada Limón. It was not my favorite book the first time around, but I had hoped I would enjoy it more this time. To my surprise, I did. Limón’s collection overwhelmingly focuses on natural imagery, with a dash of surrealism at times. Her poems often deal with grief and are unafraid to ask difficult questions: “They call the beetle’s conspicuous/bioluminescence a ‘cold light,’ but why then/do I still feel so much fire?” (p. 48). Limón also uniquely handles what some may consider simple or even mundane subjects. In “Dead Stars” (p. 22-23), the speaker describes the task of taking out the garbage against a vast backdrop of constellations. And in “From the Ash Inside the Bone” (p. 84-85), the speaker shares experiences with vertigo in the context of disrupted storytelling.

While there were poems in the first section of the book that I liked, I’d say that, overall, I liked the second and third sections better. My favorite poems in the collection were “I’m Sure About Magic” (p. 41) and “Sway” (p. 76-77). I also really enjoyed many of the other poems, including “How Most of the Dreams Go” (p. 5), “The Real Reason” (p. 43-44), and “Cannibal Woman” (p. 81-82). Unlike the first time I read them, many poems in this book have stuck in my mind. I am definitely glad I picked this book up again.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (811.6 LIM)

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