Ada Limón read 10 selections from her latest poetry collection “The Carrying” for the English Department’s Visiting Writers Series on Sept. 19. The Series has brought a diverse group of writers to campus for over 30 years, with poets being included since 2012.
Ada Limón is the author of five poetry books including the widely acclaimed “Bright Dead Things.” She received her MFA from New York University and is on the faculty at Queens University of Charlotte. Limón’s poems have general themes of womanhood, gun violence, survival, fertility and infertility.
English professor Jennifer Brewington, introduced Ada Limón and described Limón’s poems as encompassing generosity. Brewington joked about how Limón is a good karaoke singer, setting the mood for being light-hearted and enjoyable. Ada Limón took the stage to a grand applause before reading her first poem of the night.
“This is my second time in Hattiesburg and my last,” Limón joked before reading “The Leash,” and highlighted her wit and cheekiness which was a feature between readings.
Ada Limón’s career in poetry came after majoring in theatre and taking an elective intermediate poetry class. Limón told a story of how she realized her dream of being a poet as she was cutting a tomato in her friend’s apartment.
“We were like splitting it and like breaking it up into little squares and putting salt and pepper on it and it was like the best thing. And I said ‘Oh I think I want to be a poet,’” Limón said.
This sense of humor was in direct contrast to the darker tones of some poems. Her poem “Bust” discusses how society treats women’s bodies through talking about a woman smuggling cocaine in her breast implants. Themes of infertility and society’s treatment of women are present throughout Limón’s work through her well-crafted metaphors.
Light-hearted, happier poems were read, including one poem that had a light-hearted focus on infertility using metaphors of roadkill. Limón read a piece from “Envelopes of Air,” a poem collaboration written between her and Natalie Diaz that was published by The New Yorker.
“I felt a heavy rock in my throat because I could feel her pain with her infertility,” freshman English major Autumn Webb said. “I’m not even a poetry buff and it moved me.”
Eduardo C. Corral, author of the Yale Younger Poets Prize winning “Slow Lightning,” will be the next writer in the Visiting Writers Series on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building Room 108.