Ada Limón’s The Carrying introduces a deeply personal collection of poems and is recognized as her boldest work yet. Unlike Bright Dead Things, the National Book Award finalist which examines the ideals of a youthful and brutal reality, The Carrying presents its readers with a sense of longing and obscurity. This intricate collections tackles topics from modern feminism to the harrowing challenges of childbirth, causing this particular read to be far more targeted towards women, particularly of childbearing age.
After publishing The Carrying in 2018, Ada confesses in a bombmagazine.org interview that she believes “no other art form quite has that same mix of chaos and control” as poetry. This collection truly exemplifies this idea as she incorporates nature-based symbolism into almost every piece, painting an intricate and refreshingly realistic picture on each page. It isn’t often that an entire collection of poetry can be labeled as refreshing, though I can avidly describe this book by this term. The brutal honesty and unapologetic writing of the vulnerability we carry truly sets this work apart from the new age grungy poetry often seen in today’s works.
Limon’s best lines blend the themes above – “I’m good at this, this being alone in the world, the watching of things growing, this older me, the she in comfortable shoes and no time for dishes, The she who spent an hour trying to figure out that the bird call with a three-note descending call is just a sparrow” – was a heavy hitting line for this reviewer. I found Ada’s writing simplistic yet pleasantly eloquent – she seems to target our most uncommunicable feelings – loneliness, struggle, and a general disconnect with done with a delicate touch.
These poems serve as an exploratory and empathetic read for many, although male readers, or those of a younger age, may find themselves simply appreciative of the eloquence of Limón’s work rather than surrendering into the vulnerability others may feel due to a lack of personal experience for many of the themes tackled in this ambitious collection. Nevertheless, this book does offer an uncommon sense of wholeness once completed which any reader could pursue.
The Carrying by Ada Limon
Ada Limon first work, Bright Dead Things was a finalist for the National Book Award.