October is a great month for feeling like you're on the verge of giving up. The edge is there. You can see it. The days are getting shorter and it's a long, long barrel to look down to the solstice, and, frankly, one of these days you're gonna lose it and scream your little head off in public. Ada Limón's The Carrying holds your hand right up to the edge and names all the trees along the way, and whether you scream or you don't, The Carrying will be there. full of dread and hope.
— From The Carrying
Available for the first time in paperback, The Carrying--winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award--is Ada Lim n's 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--"What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?"--and a body seized by pain and vertigo as well as ecstasy. A nation convulses: "Every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal." And still Lim n shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives. "Fine then, / I'll take it," she writes. "I'll take it all."
In Bright Dead Things
, Lim n showed us a heart "giant with power, heavy with blood"--"the huge beating genius machine / that thinks, no, it knows, / it's going to come in first." In her follow-up collection, that heart is on full display--even as The Carrying
continues further and deeper into the bloodstream, following the hard-won truth of what it means to live in an imperfect world.