The conversation Monday at El Colegio High School in Minneapolis between poet Ada Limon and a group of students was all about the future, circling around topics like ambition, career and family.

Limon was at the school to read from her book and speak about Latina identity to the group of about 15 girls after school. They created vision boards — posters that described their thoughts for the future, constructed using this question as a prompt: "How do you see yourself as a woman in the future?" 

As a poet, Limon has written four poetry books including Bright Dead Things, named as a finalist for honors including the 2015 National Boook Award for poetry. The collection touches on identity and its connections with place and people.

 

Limon read three poems to the group. She also signed copies with personalized notes, said Norma Garces, executive director of El Colegio.  

 

"For many of them, it was their first poetry book that they had," Garces said. 

Someone had put shoes on a vision board while in the group. Garces said they joked, "Do you want to work at DSW, or you want to be able to buy all those shoes?" 

Despite having 20 more boys than girls in the charter of just more than 100 students, Garces said the school discusses gender equality frequently in projects and presentations. Spanish and Mayan are the most commonly spoken languages among everyone, Garces said.  

Above: Poet Ada Limon spoke at El Colegio High School Monday about her work and Latina identity. Photo courtesy of Joanna R. Demkiewicz.