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The Carrying: Poems

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  810 ratings  ·  130 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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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  810 ratings  ·  130 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
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

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 l
Julie Ehlers
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, free-library
So good. Ada Limon just gets better and better.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Rebecca McKanna
This was actual perfection.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the best books of poems I’ve read in a good long while. It’s one I plan to return to again and again. It’s one of those books that make you think about the world, yourself a little differently, a little harder.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn’t connect much with the first half of this book but the second half is riddled with dog-eared pages. Reading again immediately.
Elizabeth S
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ada Limon is rapidly becoming my favorite poet. What gorgeous poems!
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every poem in this book gleams with quiet, ferocious brilliance. The lines stay inside me after the pages are turned and I am comforted by their existence.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The reason Ada Limon is one of my favorite modern poets is that she captures a higher purpose in living through the most ordinary images -- a dog leash, a tomato plant, etc. I will read this book again and again.
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.
Danny Caine
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Carrying is another gorgeous collection of poems from Ada Limón. Darkness is ever-present as Limón meditates on our political insanity, the inability to become a mother, and the ever-present specter of grief. But Limón's keen sense of beauty ultimately summons a well-earned sense of hope. A splash of dark humor doesn't hurt, as when Limón writes, "My memoir could be called, I Thought I Wanted a Baby but / All I Got Was Your Dead Ex-Girlfriend's Two Old Cats." The reader leaves the collection ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poc-author, poetry, 2018
As with Bright Dead Things, I'm blown away by Ada Limon. She writes that edge of hope and sadness and it cuts so well. There's always a sense of optimism, of rebirth, that life goes on, that the wheel keeps on turning. This is something to have on your shelf when you need a moment to just think of things bigger than yourself.
Erica Wright
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Moving, clear-eyed poems about the strangeness of love, the letdowns of the body, and the small moments of joy that keep us going. Also a line about ghosts that made me cackle last night. Limón is a national treasure.
Nadine Jones
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, r2018-in-2018
It might sound trite, but (I'm no poet!) these poems are vulnerable, brave, and intimate, just like the blurb says. They acknowledge how crappy life can be, especially right now maybe, and they finish with a message of hope, even if that hope is difficult to grasp it's there.

The book opens with my favorite poem from Limón, the one I read and fell in love with on a NYC subway car two summers ago, that sent me off to find more:
A Name
When Eve walked among
the animals and named them—
nightingale, reds
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'd love to figure out what makes me love a list, because there are so many I reject as too contrived, too MFA-exercise-turned-into-a-novel-or-poem-or-whatever.

But some lists hit me just right, and I can't tell what makes the difference. Why do I love Sei Shonagon's but hate Emily St. John Mandel's? Why do I love Italo Calvino's lists but hate Tim O'Brien's?

Ada Limon writes lists I can love.

The much loved loose forest-green sweatpants, the long bra-less days, hair knotted and uncivilized, a shad
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
First there was the blue wing
of a scraggly loud jay tucked
into the shrubs. Then the bluish-
black moth drunkenly tripping
from blade to blade. Then
the quiet that came roaring
in like the R. J. Corman over
Broadway near the RV shop.
These are the last three things
that happened. Not in the universe,
but here, in the basin of my mind,
where I'm always making a list
for you, recording the day's minor
urchins: silvery dust mote, pistachio
shell, the dog eating a sugar
snap pea. It's going to rain soon,
close cl
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I actually like this collection even more than BRIGHT DEAD THINGS, which I didn't think was possible. For me, it doesn't really take off until halfway through the first section, but once Ada gets going, she doesn't stop. Though gorgeous, these poems are not for the faint of heart, tackling head-on themes like mortality, fertility, loss, grief, mental illness, and love--real, adult love, in all its beauty and complexity--themes especially relevant to women like myself who, like Ada, are in their ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add pub date & cover 2 11 Aug 17, 2018 11:50PM  
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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
“What if, instead of carrying

a child, I am supposed to carry grief?”
“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.”
More quotes…