The new U.S. poet laureate isn't a native Kentuckian, but don't test her devotion to her adopted home
A Lexington-based literary artist will be the next U.S. poet laureate. Ada Limón might not hail from the commonwealth, but she says the state resonates with her.
"I do think that the landscape here in the Bluegrass has really influenced a lot of my work."Ada Limón, new U.S. poet laureate
California-born with Mexican ancestry, poet and teacher Ada Limón points to nature as the connective tissue in her writing. She spoke about fostering that sense of connectedness in a 2018 conversation with author and WUKY podcaster Silas House.
"I do feel like I've always been connected to the natural world on a large level," she said. "I think it's a big part of my own spiritual belief, our connectedness to all things."
The author of six books of poetry, including the acclaimed collection “Bright Dead Things,” went on to say she’s grown more than just fond but protective of her adopted home.
"When I travel and I tell people that I live in Kentucky, they literally screw up their face into this strange grimace that looks sort of pained for them, for me. They don't understand," Limón said. "Very early on what surprised me most was my willingness to defend it, that I immediately felt like saying, well, you haven't been there, have you been there? It's really beautiful. I suddenly realized that I understood why — if I have been from here — that I would be so staunchly a Kentuckian."
Limón told NPR being named the nation’s 24th poet laureate is a “incredible honor and the shock of a lifetime.” In the new role, she hopes to promote the reading and writing of poetry and broaden the audience for the artform.
Limón will assume her duties in the fall.