Limón responds in her poetry to what she identifies as an ecological imperative to re-describe our relationship to 'nature' in a manner that isn’t merely instrumental. The moving personal dramas that her poems detail can never be separated from the landscape in which they occur ... Her poetry, which can feel so intimate and self-revealing, is almost constantly political at the same time ... What I might contribute, at the expense of seeming geeky, are some comments on the technical brilliance of Limón’s work, as it is seldom mentioned elsewhere ... Most of the lexicon and sentence patterning throughout this poem— and Limón’s other poems— could easily be spoken in conversation. It’s characteristic of Limón’s style that her language reads as both speech and as heightened 'non-speech.' It’s a difficult balancing act ... Limón isn’t a naive writer; her poetics are informed and slyly in conversation with a historical body of literature ... The poems in all four sections of The Hurting Kind cultivate wisdom in domesticity ... There are endless things to say about the articulate, complex emotional resonance of the poems in this book. Still, what Limón says about 'a life' is true as well for her book: 'You can’t sum it up.'
To praise a book as luminous or dazzling is usually to resort to a blurber’s cliché. However, Ada Limón’s sixth collection of poetry, The Hurting Kind, really does shimmer, albeit in the specific sense of the word the late anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose employed. This shimmer is essentially the radiant pulse of life across ecologies, as understood by the Aboriginal Yarralin people of Australia, among whom Rose conducted research on flying foxes ... Limón’s new work continues and expands the vulnerability and ecstasy of her previous collections ... Wild and domestic, the landscapes and animals of both places come to life in her work ... offers insight into that process [of identity construction] and how one can feel its benefit creatively and ethically ... In these decidedly pessimistic and chaotic times, Limón’s radical sincerity and goodwill feel revolutionary ... a field guide for living on a damaged planet—for acknowledging the suffering inflicted by human choices and the way people often unmake ecologies and also the way people could choose to preserve and remake them ... Life-affirming can be another blurber’s cliché, but Limón’s affirmations shimmer so brightly they cannot be denied.
For fans of previous collections, The Hurting Kind displays familiar forms — slim paragraphs with entrancing line breaks; blanks between stanzas that hold tension but don’t make you hold your breath. The horses and birds and vistas are there, yes, but there’s more family and maybe more grief, too. Throughout is the trademark wonder, and blown-out perceptivity, underscoring Limón’s clarion melancholy.