Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well, I was Surprised

Kay Ryan would not have been on my short list. Hell, she would not have even made my long list. I'm not referring to prospective Veeps, I'm talking about the next U.S. Poet Laureate. This is not to be critical of Kay Ryan, it has to do with the fact that she is a poet who has been completely off my radar. As such, I am quite frankly at a loss to assess my view of the news of her selection other than to express some feeling of relief that a woman was selected as it has been quite a drought for their gender.

What I do know about Kay is the following:
  • She was born in California
  • Educated at UCLA - both bachelor's and master's degree
  • She's received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and three Pushcart Prizes.
  • She has published six collections of poetry.

Others on Kay Ryan:

Dana Gioia: "Ryan’s poems characteristically take the shape of an observation or idea in the process of clarifying itself. Although the poems are brightly sensual and imagistic, there is often a strongly didactic sense at work."

J.D. McClatchy: "She is an anomaly in today's literary culture: as intense and elliptical as Dickinson, as buoyant and rueful as Frost.”

In the days ahead I'll be checking out her work and will likely be able to formulate a better view of this latest selection by the Library of Congress.

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