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The Carrying: Poems

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  2,658 ratings  ·  389 reviews
From National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Ada Limón comes The Carrying—her most powerful collection yet.

Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance. A daughter tends to aging parents. A woman struggles with infertility—“Wh
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Milkweed Editions
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  2,658 ratings  ·  389 reviews

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Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite poems about love, fertility, desire, this natural world we move through, the political climate, so much more.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, poetry
Limón writes intimate short poems structured by narrative and images of nature: the poetry in this collection focuses on fertility, passion, loss, creativity, and, occasionally, politics, all through the lens of the poet's daily life. Pain laces many of the poems, but Limón's outlook is fundamentally optimistic, her work measured and tranquil. The collection's straightforward language and interest in everyday life lends it broad appeal, making it accessible even to those who typically do not rea ...more
Lucy Dacus
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I just love her
Julie Ehlers
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, free-library
So good. Ada Limon just gets better and better.
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, ada-limon
Look we are not unspectacular things.
We've come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?
You ever think you could cry so hard
that there’d be nothing left in you, like
how the wind shakes a tree in a storm
until every part of it is run through with
wind? I live in the low parts now, most
days a little hazy with fever and waiting
for the water to stop shivering out of the
body. Funny thing about grief, its hold
is so bright and determined like a flame,
Michael Livingston
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been trying to figure out how to read poetry this year, realising it was kind of silly to just ignore a vibrant and exciting segment of literature. I've read a bunch - enjoying some, being baffled by others and gradually feeling my way in. But this collection completely blew the lid off for me - Limon is masterful weaving together surprising and beautiful observations of the natural world with powerful human emotion. I don't have the language to explain how good this book is - just read it. ...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
Look, we are not unspectacular things.
We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves s
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just finished up this wonderful collection. Many of the poems here deal with the body and the number of ways it can be an impediment in our lives - illness, infertility, beauty standards we fail to meet, etc. Many also dealt with caring for others - parents, friends, etc. A warm and honest collection about every day living.
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. A collection of poems about love and loss, a motherhood that doesn't come, a "carrying of grief" and yet also about the vibrancy of life, of things growing from the earth, of beauty.

I especially liked how each poem ended, like a skater landing perfectly.

As soon as I finished the book, I reread it.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ada Limón is my favorite living poet. I love her work because she is realistic without being too pessimistic, an attitude much needed in these trying times. There's always room for hope in her poems.

I was eagerly anticipating this new collection, and it did not disappoint. I read it in a single sitting, which hardly ever happens when it comes to my reading. This is a very cohesive collection, expertly laid out.

The Carrying doubles down on the t
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection came on strong in the stretch drive, section 3, which is not to say the earlier parts were without their pleasant parts. There were joys to be found there, too, though it was a bit more uneven than the last section.

I've written up a full review and included four poems I especially liked from Part 3 down this rabbit hole.
Darby Hudson
Great writer. But kept feeling this is Mary Oliver, slightly updated, both in subject matter and rhythm. More a fan of Bright Dead Things. This won't put me off remaining a fan of Ada, though. Looking forward to her next! ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Carrying by Ada Limón won the 2018 National Critics Choice Award for Best Book of Poetry.

I enjoyed this set of poems immensely. Limon’s free verse style is simple and tethered to our common experiences. Whether it’s a poem about driving across America, watching horses run across pastures, watching goldfinches flutter from one fence post to another, playing ‘would you rather’ with friends, harboring secrets, staring into future’s abyss, struggles with depression, these are all things a reader
Lyd Havens
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have wanted to read this since it was first released 2 years ago, & for one reason or another only just got to read it. Beyond worth the (self-imposed?) wait, and everything I needed right now. If you're also struggling to find hope right now, this collection might help. ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(book twenty-three) Stayed up too late reading again, but when else do I get uninterrupted time to read? It’s too hot to go outside at all so Sylvie never naps and I get no reprieve. This book spoke so directly to me and rang with a chord so true that I don’t know what to say except that it stirred in me this strong urge to make things. I almost feel brave enough to write poems after reading this. Not because she makes it looks easy; no, it’s because they’re so dense and hard, yet light and beau ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry-2018
This one's not for me. I'd prefer the poems with the last 2 or 3 lines cut. Such tidy little wrapped up endings, often written in a way to seem more profound than they really are. ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommends
Five stars. Ten stars. 100 stars. As a die-hard Ada Limón fan, I have been aching for more of her work since finishing "Bright Dead Things." Now, I think I can say I have a new favorite collection. Unflinching, emotive, selfless, compassionate, full of life and humanity and pain and joy and beauty, Limón has delivered, yet again, a stunning work that left me breathless with every page. ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
“What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?"

Beautiful poems about, among other things, pain, grief, fertility, and the idea of mother.
Emily Polson
May 18, 2019 added it
Shelves: poetry
"What if, instead of carrying

a child, I am supposed to carry grief?

The great black scavenger flies parallel now, each of us speeding,
intently and driven, toward what we've been taught to do with death."
-The Vulture & the Body

I enjoyed Ada Limon's Bright Dead Things, but I devoured this. These sequences of poems put me in a wholly separate head space (which is amazing, because it takes more and more to hold my attention these days). These are love poems, poems of yearning for motherhood, and
Sasha Gabrielle Atlas Blue
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i like to think that the more poetry you read the more you grow in ways you always wanted but never completely understood and couldn't imagine. this book makes a great catalyst for that growth. from the first page to the very last line. ...more
Meghan Derrick Fuller
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I say something to myself that's between a prayer and a curse-- How dare we live on this earth."

Avery Guess
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ada Limón writes with clarity in this collection on a number of subects/themes, including: panic attacks/anxiety, infertility, scoliosis/back pain, pain, vertigo, race, and relationships (parents, husband, friends). She rails against her body which feels broken in a variety of ways while at the same time having sympathy for it as well as a gentle understanding. There is strength here and also grace. But that doesn't stop Limón from calling out the personal and communal injustices she feels keenl ...more
Liz Mc2
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I loved these poems and look forward to reading more Limón. Poems about infertility, growth, love, creativity, the body. Adopting your boyfriend’s dead exes cats. Anger. Politics. Conversational, story-telling, glimpses of everyday life. The one that will stay with me most is “Instructions on Not Giving Up.” It starts with spring growth and ends here:

Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, th
Laura  Yan
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
i loved this. ada limon writes about loss and grief and politics and small moments of joy, of life, and it feels like the perfect poetry book for right now. there are lines that are absolutely stunning, little pieces of perfection. mostly i'm happy to be in immersed in ada's world with its tragedies and little beauties. ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I haven't sat and read a poetry collection cover to cover in a long time (since college, since Marie Howe). I need to remedy that because I loved this book so deeply. There's a dark beauty to these poems. They comforted me in a dark time in my life, in a way nothing else has. ...more
Keith Taylor
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous book! Limon looks at the world with passion and knowledge. Here's a little thing about this book that I wrote for the local paper:
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
(I ordered the British edition of The Carrying from Corsair without noticing that and was a bit disappointed in the small format, which meant small print, too. I assume the original edition from Milkweed is kinder to the eyes, but this is Ada Limon after all. I was still delighted to read the poems.)

In “The Last Thing,” Limon tells us that she makes lists of all the small things she notices: “….I can’t help it. I will / never get over making everything / such a big deal.” Her readers rejoice. Th
Roger DeBlanck
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Ada Limón is among the best poets at work in America today. The Carrying is a volume exploding with glorious proclamations of hope celebrating identity and belonging and growth, all of which are vital to offsetting the world’s unforgiving forces of disaster and loneliness and grief. The simple act of planting or tending to something is reason for hope. A passing moment spent reflecting on death is an act of forever preserving what is gone. Always lucid with honesty and candor, Limón confesses in ...more
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was, of course, a beautiful collecting; I think that Bright Dead Things resonated with me more (but it always feels unfair to compare collections between an author) but there were definitely poems in this collection that absolutely took my breath away.

I think in this one, I was much more aware of the craft? This isn't a detriment to the poems and their strength, but rather I was just aware of what rhetorical moves were being made, what phrases and turns Limon likes making in her work. That
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
god dammit ada limón. i took the deepest breath after finishing the last poem: "Sparrow, What Did You Say?". the only reason why i didn't finish it in one sitting was because it was like 3 and i had work in a few hours. limón's poems strangle you. they say please and they say thank you. i have so much admiration for her. everyone should read this. ...more
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Ada Limón is the author of three books of poetry, Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from New York University. Limón has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and was one of the judges for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry. She works as a creative writing i ...more

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“I know
you don’t always understand,
but let me point to the first
wet drops landing on the stones,
the noise like fingers drumming
the skin. I can’t help it. I will
never get over making everything
such a big deal.”
“All I’ve been working on is napping, and maybe being kinder to others, to myself.” 4 likes
More quotes…