On September 19, 2016, Ithaca College welcomed poet Ada Limón. Before the audience could consume her artistic mastery of words, Limón’s impressive career summary was shared. She is well-versed in experience with four, published books and a few other written works. In fact, her most recent book, Bright Dead Things, adorns the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year in the New York Times and has sold out more than once.
Limón shared 10 poems with Ithaca students that ranged from lyrical to narrative, new to old, viscerally sensitive to jovially uplifting. Her repertoire illustrated her depth as a poet. She encoded universal emotions into a beautifully composed orchestra of words. Both her content and delivery captivated the listeners. Every time Limón ended a piece, the still audience remained transfixed in thought, the message still reverberating throughout the room.
Her reading was followed by a question and answer period. With many aspiring writers in the audience, she addressed the fears of writer’s block and offered potential remedies, such as asking a friend for a topic or describing an ordinary object in immense detail. She may not love what she wrote, but Limón maintains it cracks open the process again. Her methods for writing change depending on the topic, but above all, she listens to her intuition. While she describes writing to be quote “cathartic,” it does not eliminate the fear that arrives as precious experiences and authentic feelings transform into published print. Although susceptible to vulnerability, Limón continues writing. Just when she’s ready to retire her pen, Limón finds a new topic in need of a poem.