Limón possesses what all good poets hope to possess: a preternaturally heightened sense of what constitutes living. She shows us suffering and desire; creating and wanting to create; the fraught ways we love and touch; repulsion, fear, rapture; the difficult act of simply standing still. She unearths our vitalities from their habitual hiding places—a conversation with one's mother, a highway overpass, a common garden weed, the shine of a beetle's shell—so we all might access them, too ... I am struck by its penetrating poetic vision of communal surviving. Limón's brilliance is in her way of searching, in how she burrows into the unknown to find its roots in known, tangible things ... Amid the intense emotional resonance of Limón's work, one might easily overlook the sheer artistry of her writing. Some lines are so beautiful that they themselves carry the power of resistance, a balm against inevitable processes of change and loss.
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.