The Paris Review

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Photo: Lucas Marquardt.

Ada Limón’s poetry is like staring into a cloudy night sky and searching desperately for any signs of a star. Just when you’re about to give up, you find a single pinprick in the dark, enough light to remind you that something’s out there. With each poem in her new collection, , Limón counterbalances her most paralyzing fears with her ability to find small twinges of hope. Much of Limón’s pain originates in her body: her twisted spine, her inability to conceive. “What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?” she despairs in “The Vulture and the Body.” But Limón’s pain supersedes the physical; through verse, her body becomes a simulacra of the political dread that has been sowed across the country. In the chilling lines of “A New National Anthem,” Limón wonders, “Perhaps / the truth is every song of this country/ has an unsung third stanza, something brutal / snaking underneath us … ” The only way Limón can face the overwhelming aspects of her existence is with

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