The Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program brings major literary figures to campus annually for a residency, and this year’s Stellfox scholar is Ada Limón, a giant in the world of poetry and the latest American writer to be named poet laureate of the United States.
“Ada Limón is perhaps the most essential poet writing in the U.S. today,” says Susan Perabo, professor of creative writing and writer-in-residence. “Her work speaks to the challenges of a divided country and a struggling planet, finding moments of connection and glimpses of grace.”
Upon being named the country’s 24th poet laureate, Limón told The New York Times that she sees poetry as a way to heal the growing divide in American society.
“Poetry is a way back in, to recognizing that we are feeling human beings,” she said. “And feeling grief and feeling trauma can actually allow us to feel joy again.”
Limon will be at Dickinson February 15-16, 2023, for a public reading, the Stellfox ceremony and book signing. She will also meet with classes and small groups of students, one of the hallmarks of the program’s unique approach to giving students access to leaders in the field.
“She is probably the most beloved contemporary poet among college students, and I think there is no poet our students would be more thrilled to have on Dickinson's campus,” Perabo says. “They know and love her work already—and now they'll have the opportunity to experience her writing and her teaching and her generous spirit in person.”
Limón is the author of six books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, and Bright Dead Things, which was nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Limón is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Chicago Literary Award for Poetry. She is also the host of the critically acclaimed poetry podcast The Slowdown.
The Stellfox Program is named in honor of the parents of esteemed English teacher Jean Louise Stellfox '60, who met the poet Robert Frost during his 1959 visit to campus when she was a student. She was inspired by that experience and made it her life’s work to instill a similar passion for literature in others. She left the bulk of her estate to Dickinson to carry on her lifelong mission, and the program named in her parents’ honor was formed to fulfill that wish after her 2003 death.
Published September 29, 2022