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The Hurting Kind: The new collection from the US Poet Laureate

Ada Limon

5 Reviews

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Poetry

An astonishing collection about interconnectedness-between the human and nonhuman, ancestors and ourselves-from National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ada Limon.

An astonishing collection about interconnectedness - between the human and nonhuman, ancestors and ourselves - from National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ada Limon.

'I have always been too sensitive, a weeper / from a long line of weepers,' writes Limon. 'I am the hurting kind.' What does it mean to be the hurting kind? To be sensitive not only to the world's pain and joys, but to the meanings that bend in the scrim between the natural world and the human world? To divine the relationships between us all? To perceive ourselves in other beings - and to know that those beings are resolutely their own, that they 'do not / care to be seen as symbols'?

With Limon's remarkable ability to trace thought, The Hurting Kind explores those questions - incorporating others' stories and ways of knowing, making surprising turns, and always reaching a place of startling insight. These poems slip through the seasons, teeming with horses and kingfishers and the gleaming eyes of fish. And they honour parents, stepparents, and grandparents: the sacrifices made, the separate lives lived, the tendernesses extended to a hurting child; the abundance, in retrospect, of having two families.

Along the way, we glimpse loss. There are flashes of the pandemic, ghosts whose presence manifests in unexpected memories and the mysterious behaviour of pets left behind. But The Hurting Kind is filled, above all, with connection and the delight of being in the world. 'Slippery and waddle thieving my tomatoes still / green in the morning's shade,' writes Limon of a groundhog in her garden, 'she is doing what she can to survive.'

'Limon is a poet of ecstatic revelation' Guardian

'I can always rely on an Ada Limon poem to give me hope . . . Limon gives us two brains in her poems, too, revealing new ways to view the world' New York Times Magazine
'Ada Limon is a bright light in a dark time. Her keen attention to the natural world is only matched by her incredible emotional honesty' Vanity Fair

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Praise for The Hurting Kind: The new collection from the US Poet Laureate

  • I can always rely on an Ada Limon poem to give me hope, but Limon's poems don't give us the kind of facile Hallmark hope; rather, her hope is hard-earned, even laced with grief or happiness . . . Limon is a master at making a simple idea (that of hindsight, seeing the bright side of things) askew. "And so I have/two brains now," 'I can always rely on an Ada Limon poem to give me hope, but Limon's poems don't give us the kind of facile Hallmark hope; rather, her hope is hard-earned, even laced with grief or happiness . . . Limon is a master at making a simple idea (that of hindsight, seeing the bright side of things) askew. "And so I have/two brains now," she writes. "Two entirely different brains." Limon gives us two brains in her poems, too, revealing new ways to view the world - New York Times Magazine

  • In one of Ada Limon's early poems, she asks, "Shouldn't we make fire out of everyday things?" For the past 16 years, that's exactly what she's done. [She is] fearlessly confessional and technically brilliant - Washington Post

  • These poems home in on how grief makes us human . . . [Limon] reminds readers that we are nothing without connection. If you haven't read poetry in a while, this volume might be what you need to reconnect with the form - Los Angeles Times

  • Brilliant . . . Throughout is the trademark wonder, and blown-out perceptivity, underscoring Limon's clarion melancholy - San Francisco Chronicle

  • Limon is a poet of ecstatic revelation - Guardian

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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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