U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón to Publish Anthology, Bring Poetry to National Parks as part of Signature Project, “You Are Here”
Ada Limón’s signature project as the nation’s 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, “You Are Here,” will feature two major new initiatives: an anthology of commissioned nature poems and poetry installed as public art in seven national parks.
“I want to champion the ways reading and writing poetry can situate us in the natural world,” Limón said. “Never has it been more urgent to feel a sense of reciprocity with our environment, and poetry’s alchemical mix of attention, silence, and rhythm gives us a reciprocal way of experiencing nature — of communing with the natural world through breath and presence.”
A new anthology, “You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World,” will be published by Milkweed Editions in association with the Library of Congress on April 2. It will feature original poems by 50 contemporary American poets, including former U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, Pulitzer Prize winner Diane Seuss, and PEN/Voelcker Award winner Rigoberto González, who reflect on and engage with their particular local landscape. As Limón said, “With poems written for vast and inspiring vistas to poems acknowledging the green spaces that flourish even in the most urban of settings, this anthology hopes to reimagine what ‘nature poetry’ is during this urgent moment on our planet.”
“You Are Here: Poetry in Parks,” an initiative with the National Park Service and the Poetry Society of America, will feature site-specific poetry installations in seven national parks across the country. These installations, which will transform picnic tables into works of public art, will each feature a historic American poem that connects in a meaningful way to the park and will “encourage visitors to pay deeper attention to their surroundings,” according to Limón.
Participating national parks are:
- Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts)
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee)
- Everglades National Park (Florida)
- Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)
- Redwood National and State Parks (California)
- Saguaro National Park (Arizona)
Limón will travel to each of the participating parks in the summer and fall of 2024 to unveil and celebrate the new installations and support community outreach.
“In this moment when the natural world is making headlines, Ada Limón’s signature project will help us connect more personally to America’s greatest parks as well as show how the poets of our time capture the natural world in their own lives,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “It also extends our laureate’s engagement with federal agencies and literary partners, to promote poetry to the nation.”
Limón has a number of major collaborations under way to share poetry with the public. On June 1, she returned to the Library to reveal “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa,” which she wrote for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. Limón’s poem will be engraved on the spacecraft that will travel 1.8 billion miles to explore Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. The poem is part of NASA’s “Message in a Bottle” campaign, which has gathered more than 450,000 signatures from people around the world signing on to the poem. The campaign will run through 2023.
For National Poetry Month, Limón has served as the guest editor for the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series in a first-ever series collaboration between the Academy and the Library of Congress. The Academy will also support the promotion of the “You Are Here” anthology upon publication.
Limón began her first term in September 2022 with an event at the Library of Congress. During her term, she participated in two events hosted by the first lady of the United States for the National Student Poets Program and for the State Visit with Brigette Macron, wife of the president of France. Limón also participated in an event hosted by Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, wife of the president of Mexico, for the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City, and she participated in a conversation with Argentine and Brazilian poets for the Library’s Palabra Archive.
About Ada Limón
Ada Limón was born in Sonoma, California, in 1976 and is of Mexican ancestry. She is the author of six poetry collections, including “The Carrying” (Milkweed Editions, 2018), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry; “Bright Dead Things” (2015), a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award; “Sharks in the Rivers” (2010); “Lucky Wreck” (Autumn House, 2006); and “This Big Fake World” (Pearl Editions, 2006). She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University and is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
Her newest poetry collection, “The Hurting Kind,” was published as part of a three-book deal with Milkweed Editions that includes the publication of “Beast: An Anthology of Animal Poems,” featuring work by major poets over the last century, followed by a volume of new and selected poems.
About the Poet Laureate Position
The Library of Congress Literary Initiatives Office is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1937 when Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. Since then, many of the nation’s most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law 99-194 (Dec. 20, 1985), as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry — a position that the law states “is equivalent to that of Poet Laureate of the United States.”
During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. In recent years, Laureates have initiated poetry projects that broaden the audiences for poetry.
For more information on the Poet Laureate and the Literary Initiatives Office, visit loc.gov/programs/poetry-and-literature/. Consultants in Poetry and Poets Laureate Consultants in Poetry and their terms of service can be found at loc.gov/poetry/laureate-2011-present.html. To learn more about Poet Laureate projects, visit loc.gov/poetry/laureate-projects.html.
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