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Kay Ryan: the poem’s the thing

Posted on the July 17th, 2008

It’s far more than merely interesting to consider that while all the noisy, so often violent events of life are flooding our attention each day, also somewhere, somehow on this earth a person such as the poet Kay Ryan is quietly living her life, quietly, persistently, day by day by day achieving an enduring and nourishing creation to share with her fellow humans.

As a writer for Salon wrote in a review of her work: “With aplomb and wit, Ryan sallies forth against quandaries as immense as the nature of nothingness and as petite as the mechanics of dewdrops rolling off a leaf.”

In an interview in 2004 with The Christian Science Monitor, Ryan is quoted: “‘I’ve tried to live very quietly, so I could be happy,’ she says, explaining that the simpler her routine, the more complex her thinking can be.” (“Poet Kay Ryan: A profile” by Elizabeth Lund, August 25, 2004)

Here are the closing lines of her short poem “Paired Things”: (PoetryFoundation.org)

So many paired things seem odd.
Who ever would have dreamed
the broad winged raven of despair
would quit the air and go
bandylegged upon the ground,
a common crow?

Today Kay Ryan is being named as the new Poet Laureate of the U.S. You can read a sampling of her poems here (“Selected Poems by Kay Ryan” New York Times, July 17, 2008).

A short video here of Ryan reading and talking about her poems (from the Academy of American Poets):

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