Ada Limón's "Sharks in the Rivers"

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2011

Recently, I stumbled across the work of Ada Limón online. After reading her poem "Sharks in the Rivers", her book of poetry under the same title was on its way to my mailbox. It has proved itself to be the best find this year thus far and it's going to be a hard one to top.

Poem after poem is soaked with imagery and sounds of flora and fauna, rolling hills and riverbanks. Even her pieces constructed in the realm of a bustling, rushing city return to the comfort and at-home peace of California countrysides. Streets turn to rivers and her entire being takes flight, refusing to let the steel and concrete of a metropolis dam up that which flows so freely from her. She is a native soul in a contemporary world.

Her style of writing is refreshing. In tune with the natural world, but able to draw parallels between nature and a world seemingly detached from it. The joy of sex and womanhood is swallowing a live bird. Worries can be carried away by grains of sand on the shoulders of ants, unless your burdens are too heavy to bear. Her work is a trickling, peaceful spring at points and a rushing torrent of feeling and life running down pavement at others. 

At no point do her words seemed forced or pretentious (like so many contemporaries today). They grow from the pages as naturally as prairie grass and take root in the readers mind. Ada's world immerses you and makes you feel both her joys and sorrows, doubts and hopes. You become attached, like she's grabbed your hand and said, "Come, I'll show you," before stepping out the door and into her world. It's honest and true writing found here.

This is the first collection of Ada's poems I've had the pleasure of reading and is her third book so far, being preceded by Lucky Wreck and This Big Fake World. Currently, she is working on a novel, which I'm sure I'll be waiting in anticipation for after reading the rest of her published work.

Sharks in the Rivers is available from Milkweed Editions. Her other poetry collections, This Big Fake World and Lucky Wreck, can be found on Amazon. She also maintains a personal blog and her official website can be found at

Comments (1)

Sweet specs.
I recently got glasses for reading and while working on the computer in Excel for long periods of time. It still feels weird wearing them since I always had perfect vision and I'm not quite used to it.

Post a Comment