Kentucky Writer Ada Limón Named Next Poet Laureate

The proud Lexington resident will take up her duties in the fall.

Ada Limón
Photo: Shawn Miller, Library of Congress

A Kentucky writer has been selected as the next poet laureate of the United States.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced Ada Limón's appointment as the nation's 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on Tuesday, calling the Lexington resident "a poet who connects."

"Her accessible, engaging poems ground us in where we are and who we share our world with," Hayden said. "They speak of intimate truths, of the beauty and heartbreak that is living, in ways that help us move forward."

According to the Library of Congress, the role of the Poet Laureate is to "raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry." Limón succeeds Joy Harjo, who served three terms in the position. She will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library's annual literary season on September 29 with a reading of her work in the Coolidge Auditorium.

"What an incredible honor to be named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States. Again and again, I have been witness to poetry's immense power to reconnect us to the world, to allow us to heal, to love, to grieve, to remind us of the full spectrum of human emotion," Limón said in a statement. "This recognition belongs to the teachers, poets, librarians and ancestors from all over the world that have been lifting up poetry for years. I am humbled by this opportunity to work in the service of poetry and to amplify poetry's ability to restore our humanity and our relationship to the world around us."

Limón has published six poetry collections including "The Carrying," which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 2018. Her newest collection, "The Hurting Kind," was released in May.

Limón, who grew up in California, moved to Kentucky 11 years ago to be with her now-husband, Lucas Marquardt, a racing journalist. In an interview with Lexington Herald-Leader she described herself as a "fiercely loyal Kentuckian."

"I feel very lucky that Kentucky will be my home base for this," Limón told the newspaper. "Because I think it's important to remember that the literary legacy of the United States is not just bicoastal. The United States has a rich history of literary accomplishment throughout each state, and I'm proud to represent Kentucky in that way."

Congratulations, Ada!

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