You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Edited by Poet Laureate Ada Limón, this anthology of poetry is an ode to the natural world and the way we interact with it. Featuring 50 poems from some of our greatest voices.

“Whoever you are, you will find yourself and your own world in the expansiveness of this collection.” –Margaret Renkl, New York Times

“A lovely book to take with you to read at the end of your next hike.” –Los Angeles Times

Published in association with the Library of Congress and edited by the twenty-fourth Poet Laureate of the United States, a singular collection of poems reflecting on our relationship to the natural world by fifty of our most celebrated contemporary writers.  

For many years, “nature poetry” has evoked images of Romantic poets standing on mountain tops. But our poetic landscape has changed dramatically, and so has our planet. Edited and introduced by the twenty-fourth Poet Laureate of the United States, Ada Limón, this book challenges what we think we know about “nature poetry,” illuminating the myriad ways our landscapes—both literal and literary—are changing.

You Are Here features fifty previously unpublished poems from some of the nation’s most accomplished poets, including Joy Harjo, Diane Seuss, Rigoberto González, Jericho Brown, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Paul Tran, and more. Each poem engages with its author’s local landscape—be it the breathtaking variety of flora in a national park, or a lone tree flowering persistently by a bus stop—offering an intimate model of how we relate to the world around us and a beautifully diverse range of voices from across the United States.

Joyful and provocative, wondrous and urgent, this singular collection of poems offers a lyrical reimagining of what “nature” and “poetry” are today, inviting readers to experience both anew.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571315687
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication date: 04/02/2024
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 12,464
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Ada Limón is the twenty-fourth U.S. Poet Laureate as well as the author of The Hurting Kind and five other collections of poems. These include, most recently, The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award. Limón is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and American Poetry Review, among others. Born and raised in California, she now lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Read an Excerpt

Donika Kelly is the author of The Renunciations, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf book award in poetry, and Bestiary, the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Kate Tufts Discovery Award. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and founding member of the collective Poets at the End of the World. She currently lives in Iowa City, where she teaches creative writing the University of Iowa.


late spring wind sounds an ocean through new leaves. later the same wind sounds a tide. later still the dry

sound of applause: leaves chapped falling, an ending. this is a process. the ocean leaping out of ocean

should be enough. the wind pushing the water out of itself; the water catching the light

should be enough. I think this on the deck of one boat
then another. I think this

in the Salish, thought it in Stellwagen in the Pacific. the water leaping
looks animal, looks open mouthed,

looks toothed and rolling; the ocean an animal full of other animals.

what I am looking for doesn’t matter. that I am looking doesn’t matter.
I exert no meaning.

a juvenile bald eagle eats a harbor seal’s placenta. its head still brown.

this is a process. the land jutting out, seals hauled out, the white-headed eagles lurking

ready to take their turn at what’s left. the lone sea otter on its back,
toes flopped forward and curled;

Friday Harbor: the phone booth
the ghost snare of a gray whale’s call; an orca’s tooth in an orca’s skull

mounted inside the glass box. remains. this is a process.
three river otters, two adults, a pup,

roll like logs parallel to the shore. two doe, three fawns. a young buck stares, its antlers new, limned gold

in sunset. then the wind again: a wave through leaves green with deep summer, the walnut’s

green husk. we are alive in a green crashing world. soon winter.
the boat forgotten. the oceans,

their leaping animal light, off screen. past. future. this is a process. the eagles at the river’s edge cluster

in the bare tree. they steal fish
from ducks. they eat the hunter’s discards: offal and lead. the juveniles

practice fighting, their feet tangle midair before loosing. this
is a process. where they came from.

for how long will they stay.
that I am looking doesn’t matter. I will impose no meaning.

Joy Harjo is the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, and a member of the Muscogee Nation; she is also the author of ten books of poetry, seven music albums, two memoirs, and several plays and children’s books. Her honors include Yale’s 2023 BollingenPrize for American Poetry, a National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, a Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize,a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and the inaugural Artist-in-Residence for the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she lives.


Grasshoppers devoured the sunflowers Petal by petal to raggedy yellow flags— Squash blossoms of small suns blessed
By dew drops flared beauty in the morning Until an army of squash bugs landed

And ate, then dragged their bellies From the carnage—
Field mice chewed their way
Into the house. They eat anything Sweet and leave their pebbled shit
In staggered lines to the closet door— Hungry tree frogs clung to the screen Their curled tongues catch anything With wings driven to the light—

We found a snake hidden on the porch, There were rumors in the yard
Of fat mice frolicking here.
The night is swallowing

We sit down to eat. 

Table of Contents

Foreword by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

Introduction by Ada Limón


Carrie Fountain, You Belong to the World

Donika Kelly, When the Fact of Your Gaze Means Nothing, Then You Are Truly Alongside  

Joy Harjo, Eat 

Kevin Young, Snapdragons     

Eduardo C. Corral, To a Blossoming Saguaro 

Diane Seuss, Nature Which Cannot Be Driven To     

Victoria Chang, A Woman and a Bird

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, An Inn for the Coven

Khadijah Queen, Tower         

José Olivarez, You Must Be Present

Dorianne Laux, Redwoods     

b ferguson, Parkside & Ocean

Brandy Nālani McDougall, Dana Naone Hall, and No’u Revilla, Aia i hea ka wai o Lahaina?

Ashley M. Jones, Lullaby for the Grieving

Ilya Kaminski, Letters

Carl Phillips, We Love in the Only Ways We Can

Brenda Hillman, Unendangered Moths of the Mid-Twentieth Century

Laura Da’, Bad Wolf

Molly McCully Brown, Rabbitbrush

Ellen Bass, Lighthouse

Traci Brimhall, Mouth of the Canyon

Jericho Brown, Aerial View

Michael Kleber-Diggs, Canine Superpowers

Monica Youn, Four Freedoms

Hanif Abdurraqib, There Are More Ways to Show Devotion

Cedar Sigo, Close Knit Flower Sack

Carolyn Forché, Nightshift in the Home for Convalescents

Analicia Sotelo, Quemado, TX

Cecily Parks, Hackberry

Danez Smith, Two Deer in a Southside Cemetery

Paul Guest, Walking the Land

Paisley Rekdal, Taking the Magnolia

Matthew Zapruder, It Was Summer, The Wind Blew

Prageeta Sharma, I am Learning to Find the Horizons of Peace

Roger Reeves, Beneath the Perseids

Kazim Ali, The Man in 119

torrin a. greathouse, No Ethical Transition Under Late Capitalism

Rigoberto González, Summer Songs

Adam Clay, Darkling, I Listen

Camille Dungy, Remembering a Honeymoon Hike

Erika Meitner, Manifesto of Fragility / Terraform

Jake Skeets, In Fire

Paul Tran, Terroir

Jason Schneiderman, Staircase

Kiki Petrosino, To Think of Italy While Climbing

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Heliophilia

Jennifer L. Knox, Central Iowa, Scenic Overlook

Alberto Rios, Twenty Minutes in the Backyard

Patricia Smith, To Little Black Girls, Risking Flower

Ruth Awad, Reasons to Live




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