An astonishing collection about interconnectedness – between the human and nonhuman, ancestors and ourselves – from National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ada Limón.
‘I have always been too sensitive, a weeper / from a long line of weepers,’ writes Limón. ‘I am the hurting kind.’ What does it mean to be the hurting kind? To be sensitive not only to the world’s pain and joys, but to the meanings that bend in the scrim between the natural world and the human world? To divine the relationships between us all? To perceive ourselves in other beings – and to know that those beings are resolutely their own, that they ‘do not / care to be seen as symbols’?
With Limón’s remarkable ability to trace thought, The Hurting Kind explores those questions – incorporating others’ stories and ways of knowing, making surprising turns, and always reaching a place of startling insight. These poems slip through the seasons, teeming with horses and kingfishers and the gleaming eyes of fish. And they honour parents, stepparents, and grandparents: the sacrifices made, the separate lives lived, the tendernesses extended to a hurting child; the abundance, in retrospect, of having two families.
Along the way, we glimpse loss. There are flashes of the pandemic, ghosts whose presence manifests in unexpected memories and the mysterious behaviour of pets left behind. But The Hurting Kind is filled, above all, with connection and the delight of being in the world. ‘Slippery and waddle thieving my tomatoes still / green in the morning’s shade,’ writes Limón of a groundhog in her garden, ‘she is doing what she can to survive.’
‘Limón is a poet of ecstatic revelation’ Guardian
‘I can always rely on an Ada Limón poem to give me hope . . . Limón gives us two brains in her poems, too, revealing new ways to view the world’ New York Times Magazine
‘Ada Limón is a bright light in a dark time. Her keen attention to the natural world is only matched by her incredible emotional honesty’ Vanity Fair