U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon Commends OWAC’s Outdoor Writing/Photography High School Awards
When I met U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon at a book fair last summer in Sonoma, I told her about the high number of poetry entries in this year’s OWAC’s annual California High School Outdoor Writing/Photography Awards.
Her eyes lit up. She congratulated OWAC for this program and explained that it tied in with her partnership with the National Park Service to install poetry in all the nation’s parks, including National and State Parks in California. She says she hopes poetry—including the writings of our high school students—will deepen people’s relationship with nature and stimulate them to want to enjoy the outdoors.
Limon fell in love with the natural world growing up in Sonoma surrounded by forests and mountains. Her poems about nature address the urgency in combating the climate crisis and stress the importance of choices that society makes. She emphasizes that poetry can both inspire and transform people. Her work is part of the upcoming National Climate Assessment report to be presented to President Biden and Congress.
Appointed U.S. Poet Laurate in 2022, Limon is the first person in that position ever to be named to a second two-year term, and will serve to 2025. She is the first Latina to be Poet Laureate. In addition, Limon was recently named one of 20 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, sometimes called “the genius grants.” The honor comes with an $800,000 stipend with no restrictions.
Although she now lives in Lexington, Kentucky, Limon often returns to Sonoma to visit family and friends . During these California visits, she has expressed interest in staying in touch about OWAC’s 2024 Outdoor Writing and Photography awards—with a keen interest in the poetry submissions.
If we receive a sufficient number of poetry entries in the upcoming Outdoor Writing/Photography High School Awards Contest, I plan to ask Ada Limon to be one of the judges.
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