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Kay Ryan -- a Poetry Friday post

There is much to celebrate today. After all, it is Poetry Friday, and the party is here. I hope those of you stopping by for the occasion will leave your links below in Mr. Linky. But also a big deal today? The announcement of a new United States poet laureate. As of this fall, the post will be occupied by Kay Ryan, a "modern hermit" who lives in Fairfax, California, where she teaches remedial English at the college level on a part-time basis.

Ryan was a rather unknown quantity to me, so I nipped over to the Poetry Foundation website, where I found 21 poems plus an article by her. One that totally spoke to me was "All Shall Be Restored", which begins with these wonderful lines:

The grains shall be collected
from the thousand shores
to which they found their way,
and the boulder restored,
and the boulder itself replaced
in the cliff, and likewise
the cliff shall rise
or subside until the plate of earth
is without fissure. Restoration
knows no half measure.

I was also blown away by "The Late Worm" and "Great Thoughts" and, well, pretty much all of what I read. I can't really quote from them too well because Ms Ryan is known for her conciseness. Which is to say that to quote from them would be to quote many of them in full, for which I do not have permission. Nevertheless, I hope you'll pop over and read some of her stuff.

Upon receiving the call from the Library of Congress, Ryan claimed that her first thought was "I can't have that many overdue books." Her influences include William Carlos Williams, Phillip Larkin and John Donne. She likes brief poems, short lines, and poems packed with metaphor, but she has worked hard to remain humble. In an interview with PBS's News Hour in June of 2006, Ryan
talked about her upbringing:

"In our home, something like being a poet would be thought of as putting on airs," Ryan told the NewsHour in June 2006. "It would be embarrassingly pretentious, and educated, and snobbish. And so that, as a writer, I've always been very sensitive to not being pretentious and to being sure that I didn't put on airs. I mean, it's all right to be intelligent and to use every possible aspect of language, but never to be pompous." There's an article about her appointment on the PBS site.

Ryan's appointment was announced by Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, who had this to say about Ryan's work: "Kay Ryan is a distinctive and original voice within the rich variety of contemporary American poetry. She writes easily understandable short poems on improbable subjects. Within her compact compositions there are many surprises in rhyme and rhythm and in sly wit pointing to subtle wisdom."

And now, I hope you'll all leave your links. Those of you who don't have recognized identities here at LiveJournal will be temporarily screened in the comments, but the beauty of Mr. Linky is that folks will be able to see your stuff right away. I just thought I'd give the heads up on the comment thing, as I'll be daytripping for pretty much all of the day.

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2008 05:06 am (UTC)
For once, I'm early to Poetry Friday. Thanks for letting us know about Kay Ryan. I'll check out her poetry.

I'm in with James Merrill's The Black Swan.
Jul. 18th, 2008 07:12 am (UTC)
I'm in with an original here in the lazy days of summer. OK, fine. They're lazy for some, at least I hear!

Jul. 18th, 2008 09:17 am (UTC)
as always, thanks for all the great info... I posted another Ryan poem, Hope

Edited at 2008-07-18 10:48 am (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
TadMack says: :)
Hurray for more Kay. I'm in with one of hers as well. I wish I could say that I was cool enough to have read more than one of her poems before now, but alas. At least I'd read the one!!

Jul. 18th, 2008 10:38 am (UTC)
I am so excited to hear about Kay Ryan! Thanks for the scoop and the links.
I have an original poem in response to Trisha's Poetry Stretch. Thanks for doing the round up. Have fun today!
Jul. 18th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up about Kay Ryan and for hosting today!

I'm in with two Joni Mitchell songs.
Jul. 18th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)
I read about Ryan in the Post yesterday, so it was great to see you feature her. I'm intrigued.

I'm back from a break, and I'm asking for input about YA verse novels and YA collections of poetry. Come on over and throw in your opinion!
Jul. 18th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
david e
In this week with a haiku by Issa and some final thoughts on this passing residency at school.
Jul. 18th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC)
Thank you for hosting, and for the introduction to Kay Ryan.
Jul. 18th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Kay Ryan Fan Club
I knew I wouldn't be the only one, but I did it anyway. I'm in with Kay Ryan too, but a different poem: "Full Measure."


Thanks for hosting!
eisha (7-Imp)

Jul. 18th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
Poetry Friday
Hi Kelly,

I'm in with a poem from Carl Sandburg. You can find it at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/poetry-friday-a-carl-sandburg-poem/.

Thanks for hosting this week!

Jul. 18th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting, Kelly. Fun to see the Kay Ryan tributes. However, my focus is National Ice Cream Day and a review of cow poetry, BUTTERCUP'S LOVELY DAY. Enjoy!
Jul. 18th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
I'm so psyched to hear that Ryan is the new laureate!!

Thanks for hosting today. I actually put my post up YESTERDAY because I totally lost track of what day it was. Totally. Here's the up side to that -- I've had two Fridays this week!!
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting!

I'm in with two little songs, and a line that inspired them (sort of) from Mary Poppins!

Jul. 18th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Poetry Friday
Elaine M.


Thanks for doing the roundup this week. I haven't been in good blogging form lately. I guess a trip to New Mexico, Fourth of July festivities, and the lazy days of summer have really affected me.

Have a great weekend!
Jul. 18th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
So I managed to completely mistake the date last week and left a link with you instead of somewhere else which makes me feel like a complete prawn now I've discovered that!

Anyway I'm in this week, albeit rather late in the day...

A red-faced Michele (Scholar's Blog)
Jul. 18th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely have to look up her works. Congratulations to her.

I am in with Emily Dickinson:

I saw Mamma Mia last night, and it was fun. Without spoiling anything, the song you're currently hearing was done quite well, I thought.
Jul. 18th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Wow! These poems are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing them. I'm in this week with an original.

Thanks for hosting us at your place.
Jul. 18th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Wow. I loved "Great Thoughts." It was like a Zen koan. I'm utterly blank right now. But wow, thanks for the link.
Jul. 18th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
poetry friday
I am sharing a poem from one of my ELL kids' poet laureates- Francisco X. Alarcón.
Jul. 18th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Kelly. I've got cummings. http://christylenzi.blogspot.com/
Jul. 18th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Poetry from the Zoo
I posted some poetry I found at the Louisville Zoo.

Here is the link. (http://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/2008/07/poetry-friday-louisville-zoo.html)
Jul. 18th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting, Kelly!
Jul. 19th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
a poem a week
Over here in Australia another poet and I have started a new resource for teachers. We're trying to encourage them to use more poetry in the classroom. It's at http://www.poetry4kids.net/forteachers.html

Great news about Kay Ryan. Love her poetry.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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