Latina Poet Ada Limón Named 24th U.S. Poet Laureate

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Image courtesy of Lucas Marquardt.

For Ada Limón, poetry is a long game. Like life, like the planet, or love, for this Latina writer, sometimes the words or tropes of her art result from knowing that they are ultimately useless. “I wanted a sharp tool, and all I have is soft language,” she told Vanity Fair in an interview.

“But of course, what does a poet do when all language fails them? They write a poem,” she added with a chuckle.

And those verses, according to the author, offer us a way to reclaim our humanity and repair our relationship with the planet.

The Library of Congress recognized Ada Limón’s work by naming her the 24th poet laureate of the United States on Tuesday.

As NBC News explained, upon assuming the position this fall, Limón will travel the country sharing her vision for poetry.

A Mexican-American, Ada Limón grew up in Sonoma, California, studied theater, and trained under the tutelage of professors such as Colleen J. McElroy. After receiving fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown and a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, in 2003, Limón won the Chicago Literary Award for Poetry.

Two years later, her first book, “Lucky Wreck,” was chosen by Jean Valentine as the Autumn House Poetry Prize winner.

Today, Ada Limón is the author of six books of poetry, with “The Carrying” winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. She now lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she writes, teaches remotely, and hosts the acclaimed poetry podcast “The Slowdown.” Her new book of poetry, “The Hurting Kind,” has been published by Milkweed Editions.

Ada Limón is the first U.S. poet laureate of Latino and Mexican American heritage.

As she told NBC News, in her new position, Limón wants to celebrate “not just poets, but poetry” — to think about what it can do and foster more of those connections for those who haven’t yet fallen in love with the genre.

“Sometimes where we fail as teachers is we give people just a few poems,” she said. “But there are so many out there.”

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