Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón

I got a little over-excited when the Governor General’s Literary Awards nominations were announced this fall and requested all of the nominees from the library, plus a couple extras that happened to be nearby on the shelf. Bright Dead Things was one of the extras.

The thing I really like about this collection: instead of an adverb-and-adjective-description-heavy blurb on the inside cover (which, let’s face it, never really tells the reader much about whether or not they’re likely to enjoy the poems inside), this collection has one of Limón’s poems


I like the lady horses best,
how they make it look all easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to lift my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.


Isn’t that such a better way of sussing out whether or not a poetry collection is for you? This poetry collection, for instance, is very much for me.


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