Lexington-based poet Ada Limón has made it to the short list for the National Book Award in poetry.
Her Bright Dead Things is one of five contenders, along with Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay, Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis, Elegy for a Broken Machine by Patrick Phillips and How to Be Drawn by previous winner Terrance Hayes. The awards — including prizes in fiction, non-fiction and young people's literature — will be presented at a Nov. 18 gala in New York.
Limón moved to Lexington in 2011 from New York and splits her time between the Bluegrass and Sonoma, Calif. Bright Dead Things, published in September by Milkweed Editions, addresses her move from New York to Kentucky. The publisher describes it as "a book of bravado and introspection, of 21st-century feminist swagger and harrowing terror and loss." It is her fourth book of poetry.
Two years ago, Limón served on the panel for the poetry award with Kentucky's last National Book Award honoree, Nikky Finney, who won in 2011 for her poetry collection Head Off & Split. A 2013 profile by the Herald-Leader said the experience was inspiring to Limón.
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She wrote on her blog, "As I was reading so many poems, more poems came. And as I took a break for fiction, more fiction came. And essays and tweets and tantrums."