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AddRan College of Liberal Arts


Ada Limón

Ada Limón, the 24th United States Poet Laureate and recipient of a 2023 MacArthur Fellowship, visited TCU’s campus in November 2023 as part of the Premier Green Chair lecture series. Limón is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. She’s published six books, including most recently “The Hurting Kind.” Her signature project as Poet Laureate focuses on how poetry can help connect us to the natural world.

Limón spent the full day on campus holding events, including a Q&A with students, a lunch with faculty and creative writing students, and an evening keynote lecture. English Professor Alex Lemon has known Limón for almost 20 years and helped bring her to TCU. “It's such a big deal, not only that she is the Poet Laureate doing a celebratory reading, but that we could get her to campus and have her work with students during the day and interact with other faculty and creative writing majors and students interested in the craft of poetry,” he said.

Five people pose together
Ada Limón (center) with (left to right) Ron Pitcock, Honors College dean; Ariane Balizet, AddRan College of Liberal Arts associate dean; Sonja Watson, AddRan College of Liberal Arts dean; and Alex Lemon, director of the Master of Liberal Arts program.

AddRan student Lily Margaret Greenway ’24 did a social media takeover for Limón’s visit. Greenway had read some of Limón’s poems in class and on her own, so she was thrilled to witness the visit and chat with the esteemed poet over lunch. “It was really neat to see so many different creatives in one room — to see us all with that same passion and pursuit enjoy a meal together was really special,” she said.

As an English major, Greenway has attended several poetry readings but says this one was her favorite. “It was really impactful as a young writer to see somebody who has gotten her work into the world and who has made a real impact with her words,” Greenway explained. “It inspired me.”

Limón’s evening reading was open not only to TCU creative writing students and faculty but also to the wider community; over 400 people attended, including local high school students and their teachers. Associate Dean of Faculty and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Professor of English Ariane Balizet, Ph.D., said the event even attracted students studying science, engineering and political science. “I cannot think of a literary figure, especially a poet, that would have that kind of draw,” she said. “There is something very accessible about her work. You hear her read a poem and you feel like it's a very immediate connection. It’s a lasting experience while also being very accessible for folks who aren't used to sitting down and quietly listening to someone read a poem.”

Reflecting on Limón’s appearance, Lemon feels she made an enduring impression on the TCU community. “I've received so many emails from both students and faculty about how not only they enjoyed her visit, but how they thought it was really important to showcase the power of the written word and get to hear amazing and wonderful ideas about creative writing and poetry from somebody of that stature,” he said.