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The beauty and the grief: Ada Limón’s ‘The Hurting Kind’

Ada Limón

This week on The Write Question, Lauren speaks with poet Ada Limón, author of The Hurting Kind (Milkweed Editions) and host of the poetry podcast, The Slowdown (American Public Media). The Hurting Kind is a collection not unlike her previous collections—which is to say, it’s a book of poetry that centers the heart and the non-human, or more-than-human, entities of the world. The Hurting Kind, though, feels also like a departure: a book of reflections, of looking backwards and inwards, as much as one of observation, a book of the present, of the poet’s current self and surroundings. These poems simultaneously incite and interrogate connection and its opposite, and in language that is both astonishing and accessible, the speakers in Limón’s The Hurting Kind are truth-seekers that lean into feeling, that fully inhabit their physical and emotional worlds.

About Ada:

Poet Ada Limón is the author of six books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her book Bright Dead Things was nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her work has been supported most recently by a Guggenheim Fellowship. She grew up in Sonoma, California and now lives in Lexington, Kentucky where she writes, teaches remotely, and hosts the critically-acclaimed poetry podcast, The Slowdown. Her new book of poetry, The Hurting Kind, was published by Milkweed Editions in May 2022.

Ada Limón recommends:

speculation, n. by Shayla Laws (Autumn House Press)

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz (Graywolf Press)

Floaters by Martín Espada (W. W. Norton & Company)

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions)

Lauren Korn recommends:

Bright Dead Things and The Carrying by Ada Limón (Milkweed Editions)

sulphurtongue by Rebecca Salazar (McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada); and this conversation with Rebecca

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions)

“Sighing: Audible Breath and Its Relation to Poetry,” part of the Bagley Wright Lecture Series; you can read the Q&A that took place after this lecture here!

“Poet Ada Limón and the Birds of Kentucky,” BirdNote, and other BirdNote Daily episodes (as heard daily on Montana Public Radio)

“Von Diaz, Vallery Lomas, and Poet Ada Limón,” The Splendid Table (American Public Media)

The Write Question team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Peter Hoag, co-producer and editor; and Tom Berich, sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now the host of Montana Public Radio’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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