Poetry Sunday: A new poet laureate

Ada Limón has been announced as the twenty-fourth poet laureate of the country. Her assignment begins this fall. The main duty of the poet laureate is to be an ambassador for the form and to help introduce it to those who may not have an appreciation of it. 

Many of Limón's poems refer to our relationship to the natural world; trees, for example, are important characters in her poetry. Here is an example.

Instructions on Not Giving Up

by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.


  1. How lovely. Life without trees would be unimaginable for me, and it makes me weep to see that ever more frequent and intense wildfires are destroying so many of them. Now, even giants centuries old are threatened. It is a cause for great sadness.

    1. And yet these giants have survived many catastrophic events in their long lives. I wouldn't bet against them surviving us as well.

  2. Now that we know that climate change is accelerating faster than we had thought even a few years ago, I can ask, will my grandchildren (if I have any) be able to experience the spring of this beautiful poem?

    1. Indeed, we have to wonder what kind of world - both natural and political - we are leaving for coming generations.

  3. Lovely poem. And what an honor to be chosen for poet laureate!

    1. It seems to be a well-deserved honor in Limón's case.

  4. Oh, I like this one! I will be eager to hear more from this poet.

    1. This seemed to be a fairly typical example of her poetry.

  5. This is beautiful and I love that it's about trees. I can't wait to see more from them!

    1. I think the choice for a new poet laureate is a definite winner!


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