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U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón in front of the Library of Congress.
Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.

The Laureate Begins a Climate Assessment . . . and Ends Up on The Weather Channel

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Ada Limón continues to redefine the Poet Laureate position in surprising ways. At the beginning of the month, I wrote about NASA’s “Message in a Bottle” campaign for the Europa Clipper featuring Ada’s poem “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa.” Thanks to your help, the campaign has garnered more than 2 million signatures before the end of the year!

NASA isn’t the only federal entity featuring our laureate in dynamic new ways. In November, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)—a Congressionally-mandated program made up of 14 federal member agencies—released its Fifth National Climate Assessment (or NCA5), which it describes as “the most up-to-date and comprehensive assessment of climate change in the United States, providing authoritative, decision-relevant information on how people across the country are experiencing climate change, the risks we face now and in the future, and actions underway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience.”

The assessment is produced about every four years, and for the fifth iteration it begins not with bold headlines or attention-grabbing graphics but with Ada’s poem “Startlement,” commissioned by the USGCRP. On the NCA5’s front matter webpage, the poem is offset in white type on a blue background—a visual signal for readers to experience it differently than the prose that follows. Here is the poem on its own, thanks to the laureate and the USGCRP:

An image of the poem "Startlement"

But that’s not the only way you can experience “Startlement.” To coincide with the release of the report, The Weather Channel created and aired a video version of the poem featuring Ada reading from the Library of Congress Poetry Office. And just this week The Weather Channel featured Ada talking about the poem and her laureateship as part of the channel’s “Faces of Change” series.

Enjoy, and there will be more to follow on Ada and her laureate work—including the launch of her signature project, “You Are Here”—in the year to come!




Comments (3)

  1. Kudos to the always awesome & amazing Ada!
    Thanks for the update & for sharing with her appreciative fanbase.

  2. To the webmaster, Thanks for the post!

  3. Youre poem is amazing! Thanks for sharing with us just a hence of your beautiful poetry! Well thought and said! This poem has fluidity! Keep up the good work!

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