Ada Limón


Ada Limón is the author of five poetry collections, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her fourth book Bright Dead Things was named a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry,  she serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Source

Calling Things What They Are

I pass the feeder and yell, Grackle party! And then an hour later I yell, Mourning

dove afterparty! (I call the feeder the party and the seed on the ground the

afterparty.) I am getting so good at watching that I’ve even dug out the binoculars

an old poet gave me back when I was young and heading to the Cape with so

much future ahead of me it was like my own ocean. Tufted titmouse! I yell, and

Lucas laughs and says, Thought so. But he is humoring me, he didn’t think so at

all. My father does this same thing. Shouts out at the feeder announcing the party

attendees. He throws out a whole peanut or two to the Steller’s jay who visits on

a low oak branch in the morning. To think there was a time I thought birds were

kind of boring. Brown bird. Gray bird. Black bird. Blah blah blah bird. Then, I

started to learn their names by the ocean and the person I was dating said, That’s

the problem with you, Limón, you’re all fauna and no flora. And I began to learn

the names of trees. I like to call things as they are. Before, the only thing I was

interested in was love, how it grips you, how it terrifies you, how it annihilates and

resuscitates you. I didn’t know then that it wasn’t even love that I was interested

in, but my own suffering. I thought suffering kept things interesting. How funny

that I called it love and the whole time it was pain.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships


Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses


written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


a situation that seems to contradict itself


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”