Ada Limón is a poet laureate for the 21st century, exploring ‘what it looks like to have America in the room’

ada limon

Ada Limón is the first woman of Mexican ancestry to be named U.S. poet laureate. Through her understanding of social media and the power of connection, she strives to make poetry accessible to everyone.

“Ada Limón is a poet who connects.” This was how Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden introduced the 24th poet laureate of the United States.

From my perspective as a poet and writing teacher, “a poet who connects” is a perfect encapsulation of who the poet laureate should be – and why I see Limón as so well suited for the role.

This appointment has consistently been filled by some of the most celebrated and lasting poets of their generations – Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, Gwendolyn Brooks and many others. According to Limón, it was reading a Bishop poem, “One Art,” at age 15 that jump-started her own passion for poetry.

Limón is the first woman of Mexican ancestry to be named poet laureate of the U.S. Few women have filled the role, and fewer women of color still.

Limón has grappled with the expectations that predominately white literary spaces have placed on her in poems like “The Contract Says: We’d Like the Conversation to be Bilingual.” She has also joked about her experience as a poet of color online. Rather than resign herself to being pigeonholed, however, Limón views identity – and poetry – as an avenue to greater possibilities.

Read Ada’s story