Even though an individual may perish, there is consistency in the life cycles of bumblebees, dandelions, and race horses—all of which are examined with gorgeous language and imagery that makes Limón’s collection hard to put down, even in the moments that cause a deep, sorrowful ache. The tone is conversational yet eloquent, as if the speaker is retelling the most whimsical or challenging moments of their day after mentally working out the details of the story all afternoon. At times, these dialogues become brutally honest and confessional. In other instances, they’re more convivial ... The Carrying perhaps doesn’t only refer to the burdens we carry, but also the small joys that carry us through the incessant turmoil of existence. It’s difficult to balance such polarized emotions, but Limón deftly navigates these extremes.
The Carrying (Milkweed) is Ada Limón’s fifth and best book ... exquisite poems ... [Limón] is always a careful witness, accurately recording the moment rather than trying to transcend it. That leads to achingly graceful lines at times and to blunt insights at others ... a powerful example of how to carry the things that define us without being broken by them.
Ada Limón’s pitch-perfect fifth collection, The Carrying, is full of poems to savor and share. In it, she offers avenues to survival and persistence in the face of immense grief ... She writes with remarkable directness about painful experiences normally packaged in euphemism and, in doing so, invites the readers to enter a world where abundant joy exists alongside and simultaneous to loss. One doesn’t negate the other.