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Kay Ryan

About This Author
Kay Ryan served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2008 through 2010.
She has long lived in Marin County, California.
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Kay Ryan served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2008 through 2010.
She has long lived in Marin County, California.
Books by thisAuthor
  • The Best of It

    The Best of It
    New and Selected Poems
    Kay Ryan’s recent appointment as the Library of Congress’s sixteenth poet laureate is just the latest in an amazing array of accolades for this wonderfully accessible, widely loved poet. Salon has compared her poems to “Fabergé eggs, tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder.” The two hundred poems in Ryan’s The Best of It offer a stunning retrospective of her work, as well as a swath of never-before-published poems of which are sure to appeal equally to longtime fans and general readers.

    The Niagara River

    The Niagara River
    Poems
    Salon compared the poems in Kay Ryan’s last collection to “Fabergé eggs, tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder.” The Niagara River contains similarly hidden gems. Intense and relaxed, buoy­ant and rueful, the singular music of this poetry appeals to many people. Her poems, products of an immaculately off-kilter mind, have appeared everywhere from the Sunday funnies to New York subways to the pages of The New Yorker to plaques at the zoo. As J. D. McClatchy declared in American Poet, “she is an anomaly in today’s literary culture: as intense and elliptical as Dickinson, as buoy­ant and rueful as Frost.”

    Say Uncle

    Say Uncle
    Filled with wry logic and a magical, unpredictable musicality, Kay Ryan's poems continue to generate excitement with their frequent appearances in The New Yorker and other leading periodicals. Say Uncle, Ryan's fifth collection, is filled with the same hidden connections, the same slyness and almost gleeful detachment that has delighted readers of her earlier books. Compact, searching, and oddly beautiful, these poems, in the words of Dana Gioia, "take the shape of an idea clarifying itself." "A poetry collection that marries wit and wisdom more brilliantly than any I know.... Poetry as statement and aphorism is rarely heartbreaking, but reading these poems I find myself continually ambushed by a fundamental sorrow, one that hides behind a surface that interweaves sound and sense in immaculately interesting ways." -- Jane Hirshfield, Common Boundary; "The first thing you notice about her poems is an elbow-to-the-ribs playfulness." -- Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle.

    Elephant Rocks

    Elephant Rocks
    Poems
    Elephant Rocks, Kay Ryan’s third book of verse, shows a virtuoso practitioner at the top of her form. Engaging and secretive, provocative and profound, Ryan’s poems have generated growing excitement with their appearances in The New Yorker and other leading periodicals. Sometimes gaudily ornamental, sometimes Shaker-plain, here is verse that is compact on the page and expansive in the mind.

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