Bright Dead Things: Poems
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
A finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Bright Dead Things examines the dangerous thrill of living in a world you must leave one day and the search to find something that is "disorderly, and marvelous, and ours."
A book of bravado and introspection, of feminist swagger and harrowing loss, this fourth collection considers how we build our identities out of place and human contact--tracing in intimate detail the ways the speaker's sense of self both shifts and perseveres as she moves from New York City to rural Kentucky, loses a dear parent, ages past the capriciousness of youth, and falls in love. Ada Limón has often been a poet who wears her heart on her sleeve, but in these extraordinary poems that heart becomes a "huge beating genius machine" striving to embrace and understand the fullness of the present moment. "I am beautiful. I am full of love. I am dying," the poet writes. Building on the legacies of forebears such as Frank O'Hara, Sharon Olds, and Mark Doty, Limón's work is consistently generous, accessible, and "effortlessly lyrical" (New York Times)--though every observed moment feels complexly thought, felt, and lived.
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A Best Poetry Book of 2015: New York Times and Buzzfeed "Effortlessly lyrical."--New York Times "Bright Dead Things buoyed me in this dismal year. I'm thankful for this collection, for its wisdom and generosity, for its insistence on holding tight to beauty even as we face disintegration and destruction."--Celeste Ng "These poems are, as my students might say, hella intimate. They are meticulously honed and gorgeously crafted. They marry the lyric poem's interior emotional intensity with its exterior mode of social conveyance and aesthetic beauty. . . . The best compliment one can give a book of poems is that the book loves the reader. Bright Dead Things doesn't just love poetry; it loves the reader. My hunch is, Reader, you'll love it too."--Huffington Post "Bright Dead Things breeds a particular mixture of wildness. The mixture is by turns melodious and tight. Limón's poems are like fires: charring the page, but leaving a smoke that remains past the close of the book."--The Millions "Limón's work is destined to find a place with readers on the strength of her voice alone. Her intensity here is paradoxically set against the often slow burn of life in Kentucky, and the results will please readers."--Flavorwire "Poet and Critic Stephen Burt says, 'Prose sense is to poetry as tonality is to music.' And I see that sense of prose cushioned in each poem included in this leguminous compilation. The works wear complexity on their sleeves with reassuring accessibility on their faces; to say it more succinctly, there's a tough grilling of the soul and champagnes served to the measure of each one's taste."--The Rumpus "A masterpiece.--Shondaland "In Bright Dead Things, there's a fierce jazz and sass ('this life is a fist / of fast wishes caught by nothing, / but the fishhook of tomorrow's tug') and there's sadness--a grappling with death and loss that forces the imagination to a deep response. The radio in her new, rural home warns 'stay safe and seek shelter' and yet the heart seeks love, risk, and strangeness--and finds it everywhere."--Gregory Orr "Limón doesn't write as if she needs us. She writes as if she wants us. Her words reveal, coax, pull, see us. In Bright Dead Things we read desire, ache, what human beings rarely have the heart or audacity to speak of alone--without the help of a poet with the most generous of eyes."--Nikky Finney "Limón does far more than merely reflect the world: she continually transforms it, thereby revealing herself as an everyday symbolist and high level duende enabler. At the end of one poem she writes, 'What the heart wants? The heart wants / her horses back, ' and suddenly even this most urban reader feels wild and free."--Matthew Zapruder "Both soft and tender, enormous and resounding, her poetic gestures entrance and transfix."--Richard Blanco "In her newest volume of poems, Limón delves into the divided self--self separated by geography, by loss, by change, by circumstance. . . . Generous of heart, intricate and accessible, the poems in this book are wondrous and deeply moving."--Library Journal (starred review) "A poet whose verse exudes warmth and compassion, Limón is at the height of her creative powers, and Bright Dead Things is her most gorgeous book of poems."--Los Angeles Review of Books "Richly written and felt."--Publishers Weekly