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Bright Dead Things

Ada Limon

7 Reviews

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Poetry by individual poets

A finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, BRIGHT DEAD THINGS examines the dangerous thrill of living in a world you must leave one day and the search to find something that is 'disorderly, and marvelous, and ours'.

'BRIGHT DEAD THINGS buoyed me in this dismal year. I'm thankful for this collection, for its wisdom and generosity, for its insistence on holding tight to beauty even as we face disintegration and destruction.' Celeste Ng, author of EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU

A book of bravado and introspection, of feminist swagger and harrowing loss, Bright Dead Things considers how we build our identities out of place and human contact - tracing in intimate detail the ways the speaker's sense of self both shifts and perseveres as she moves from New York City to rural Kentucky, loses a dear parent, ages past the capriciousness of youth and falls in love.

In these extraordinary poems Ada Limon's heart becomes a 'huge beating genius machine' striving to embrace and understand the fullness of the present moment. 'I am beautiful. I am full of love. I am dying,' the poet writes. Building on the legacies of forebears such as Frank O'Hara, Sharon Olds and Mark Doty, Limon's work is consistently generous, accessible, and 'effortlessly lyrical' (New York Times) - though every observed moment feels complexly thought, felt and lived.

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Praise for Bright Dead Things

  • I am thankful for this collection, for its wisdom and generosity, for its insistence on holding tight to beauty even as we face disintegration and destruction

  • In Ada Limon's Bright Dead Things, there's a fierce jazz and sass ("this life is a fist / of fast wishes caught by nothing, / but the fishhook of tomorrow's tug") and there's sadness - a grappling with death and loss that forces the imagination to a deep response. The radio in her new, rural home warns "stay safe and seek shelter" and yet the heart seeks love, risk, and strangeness - and finds it everywhere.

  • A masterpiece. - Shondaland

  • Effortlessly lyrical. - New York Times

  • The best compliment one can give a book of poems is that the book loves the reader. Bright Dead Things doesn't just love poetry; it loves the reader. My hunch is, Reader, you'll love it too. - Huffington Post

  • Bright Dead Things breeds a particular mixture of wildness. The mixture is by turns melodious and tight. Limon's poems are like fires: charring the page, but leaving a smoke that remains past the close of the book. - The Millions

  • Belongs to [...] a new poetry that is readable, heartfelt and full of vivid imagery - the Times

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Ada Limon

Ada Limon is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times and American Poetry Review, among others. She lives in both Kentucky and California.

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