Ada Limón has earned a special place in Time…
The 47-year-old Mexican American poet, the first Latina to be Poet Laureate of the United States, has been named to Time magazine’s annual Women of the Year list.
In 2022, Limon was appointed the 24th poet laureate of the U.S., a role previously held by the likes of Tracy K. Smith, Joy Harjo, and Rita Dove.
Last spring, she was granted a two-year second term. And in October came the announcement that she’d won a MacArthur “genius” grant.
These are the achievements most writers only dream of—but there was one invitation that even the most inventive of poets would not have imagined: NASA reached out. It wanted Limón to compose an original poem to be launched into space.
“As soon as I hung up, I thought, Oh, no,” Limón says.
Her poem “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa” will be engraved inside the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft set to launch on October 10 and begin orbiting Jupiter by 2030.
Out of this world though the commission may be, it’s a fitting one for a poet dedicated to exploring the ties between the human experience and the universe we all share.
“When I’m in my darkest space, as a poet and as a human, turning to nature is the one thing that will bring me back to myself,” Limón says. “It’s very hard to write from a place of fear and isolation. If you can, connect to the natural world—a tree, a shrub, whatever you can set your sight on for a moment. We’re not alone.”
This summer, Limón will embark on a tour across the U.S. to unveil poetry installations in seven national parks as part of her signature program as poet laureate, dubbed You Are Here—which is also the title of an anthology she’ll publish in April. From Washington to Florida, Limón will convene people from all walks of life to celebrate both poetry and the land.
Other Class of 2024 honorees this year include actor, writer and director Greta Gerwig; actor Taraji P. Henson; singer, songwriter and actor Andra Day; tennis player Coco Gauff; Global CEO of Chanel Leena Nair; co-founder and leader of the Israeli movement Women Wage Peace Yael Admi; founder and director of Women of the Sun Reem Hajajreh; president and chairwoman of nonprofit Nadia’s Initiative Nadia Murad; medical scientist and professor of research on hyperemesis gravidarum Marlena Fejzo; founder and executive director of The Chisholm Legacy Project Jacqui Patterson; and economic historian and labor economist Claudia Goldin.
Time will host the third annual invite-only Time Women of the Year Gala on Tuesday, March 5, in Los Angeles. The event will feature appearances and remarks from Women of the Year honorees, the presentation of a Time Earth Award, as well as a special musical performance by Andra Day.