She actually read from her new book of poetry The Hurting Kind! The poem “The Hurting Kind” told the story of her grandmother. But, it was so much more. That poem told the story of an American life and I watched the U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón on a Crowdcast made available by Books & Books, indie bookstore for the real.
The poem was striking. Limón mentioned in the interview that she thought that it was long. I guess that some might think so for contemporary poetry, but seemed to fit in with its subject–a life lived well and that has not ended. In the poem, Limón traces the beauty of the experience lived by her grandmother and that Limón experienced with her. It had, I believe, seven parts. My memory! In each part, images and narrative gave us an emotion of peace and a feeling of gratitude.
Part of the interview that I watched on Crowdcast centered on “hope and wonder.” In these tumultuous times, it seems that it is difficult to sustain an active state of hope, but Limón pointed out that there were times when hope came with difficulty, but she was able to grasp wonder.
For example, she talked about the tree that was visible from her desk. It was a silver maple. She described the multitude of shifting and shiny leaves glinting in the sun’s rays and moving with the breeze. The tree was alive to her and she felt a connection to it that imbued her with wonder.
Reading her poetry is a relief. I read Bright Dead Things and wow! It was so wonderful because although it told the story of illness and loss, it celebrated the life that came with that shadow. In an interview she mentioned that she liked the title because between “bright” and “things” sat the word “dead.” To me, it is as if mortality is something that absolutely needs to be considered every day to keep one grateful.
In reading her poems one acknowledges that others hurt as you do and that it is okay to break some times because that is part of it. That is part of being alive, and other times you will bend. Many times, people think that they will be weak if they break, but as her poetry shows, people can break down and with others get restructured into someone new, bright and moving.