Transylvania University students had class today with the new U.S. poet laureate.
Ada Limón read some of her poetry and discussed things like her writing process and how works are translated. This evening at 5:30, she’ll give a public reading, answer questions and sign books in Haggin Auditorium. Reserve tickets (the event also will be livestreamed).
If you’ve got a question to ask Limón during the Q&A, text it to 859-428-7801.
“It’s surreal that she’s here on campus, and listening to her answer some of our questions was really helpful for us as young writers,” said Kate Polson, who’s taking Readings for Creative Writers. “I really enjoyed her book ‘The Carrying.'”
Her classmate Dylan Howell enjoyed hearing about Limón’s process, how she thinks creatively. “Getting this informal way to just sit and talk and ask questions is fantastic.”
Student Erika Williams said sitting in a small group with someone like the nation’s poet laureate can seem intimidating — that is, until the conversation gets going. “It also helps with learning, because you can see that someone so successful … is also human, and it helps you see how you could become like them.”
English professor Maurice Manning is excited about Limón’s visit too, and he pointed out how her predecessor, Joy Harjo, gave a talk here earlier in the year. “The poet laureate of the United States comes to Transylvania — twice,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity for all of us.”
Ahead of her visit, Manning had his students read “The Carrying,” which won a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Limón, a Lexington resident who began her term as the nation’s 24th poet laureate Sept. 1, is giving tonight’s reading as part of Transylvania’s Delcamp Visiting Writer series. The event also is sponsored by other campus programs including Creative Intelligence, Crucial Terrain and the Hazelrigg-Humanities Endowment.
Limón’s other recognitions include having her “Bright Dead Things” nominated for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She also recently received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
“Ms. Limon’s poetry, of course, passes through human challenges and grief, but that is not where her poems stop,” Manning said. “They go farther and arrive at a much deeper and more ethereal place, delivered through a voice that is affectionate, hopeful and honest.”