Ada Limón

Sharks in the Rivers

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“A wonderful book” from the National Book Award for Poetry finalist that explores themes of dislocation and danger (Bob Hicok, author of Red Rover, Red Rover).
The speaker in this extraordinary collection finds herself dislocated: from her childhood in California, from her family’s roots in Mexico, from a dying parent, from her prior self. The world is always in motion—both toward and away from us—and it is also full of risk: from sharks unexpectedly lurking beneath estuarial rivers to the dangers of New York City, where, as Ada Limón reminds us, even rats find themselves trapped by the garbage cans they’ve crawled into.
In such a world, how should one proceed? Throughout Sharks in the Rivers, Limón suggests that we must cleave to the world as it “keep[s] opening before us,” for, if we pay attention, we can be one with its complex, ephemeral, and beautiful strangeness. Loss is perpetual, and each person’s mouth “is the same / mouth as everyone’s, all trying to say the same thing.” For Limón, it’s the saying—individual and collective—that transforms each of us into “a wound overcome by wonder,” that allows “the wind itself” to be our “own wild whisper.”
“Through the steamy, thorny undergrowth, up through the cold concrete, under the swift river, Limon soars and twirls like a bird, high on heart.” —Jennifer L. Knox, author of Crushing It
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39 printed pages
Original publication



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    andreae183has quotedlast month
    World, turn all you want to,
    faster even. I’ve come to like the way the breeze feels
    as it rips me limb from limb.
    andreae183has quotedlast month
    I’ve been walking for a long time,
    and it hasn’t made me smarter or faster
    andreae183has quotedlast month
    Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow,
    but this stubborn monster-girl, gone all wrong
    with the river’s sledge, is not
    giving in to your one-way-ness.

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