The Paris Review

Staff Picks: Museum Heists, Midsixties Teens, and Munchesque Prisoners

Photo: Lucas Marquardt.

Ada Limón’s poetry is like staring into a cloudy night sky and searching desperately for any signs of a star. Just when you’re about to give up, you find a single pinprick in the dark, enough light to remind you that something’s out there. With each poem in her new collection, , Limón counterbalances her most paralyzing fears with her ability to find small twinges of hope. Much of Limón’s pain originates in her body: her twisted spine, her inability to conceive. “What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?” she despairs in “The Vulture and the Body.” But Limón’s pain supersedes the physical; through verse, her body becomes a simulacra of the political dread that has been sowed across the country. In the chilling lines of “A New National Anthem,” Limón wonders, “Perhaps / the truth is every song of this country/ has an unsung third stanza, something brutal / snaking underneath us … ” The only way Limón can face the overwhelming aspects of her existence is with

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review8 min read
Books Won’t Die
Illustration by Albert Robida, for “The End of the Books,” by Octave Uzanne, published in Scribner’s Magazine, vol. 16, no 2, August 1894. Public domain. Increasingly, people of the book are also people of the cloud. At the Codex Hackathon, a convent
The Paris Review9 min read
Consider the Butt
François Boucher, L’Odalisque Brune (cropped), 1743 The elevator doors opened onto a loft-like space throbbing with music. Organizers in T-shirts that read ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT MY BUTTHOLE were setting up booths by the entrance, helping a strange pa
The Paris Review16 min read
What Susan Sontag Saw
Susan Sontag. Photo: © Lynn Gilbert (CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)). In January 1919, in a dry riverbed north of Los Angeles, a cast of thousands gathered to re-create a contemporary horror. Based on a book published a