Dennis Ryan

Dennis Ryan Poems

"An honest tale speeds best being plainly told."
-Queen Elizabeth speaking in William Shakespeare's RICHARD III

August 25,2006

March 27,2006

Poems always exist behind poems
whether we realize it or not,

Friday afternoon March 29,2019 at 12: 11 p.m.

It seems natural to sense
something or someone missing,

April 29,2005

'I understand what Carolin [Emcke] meant about victims of violence and trauma experiencing solitude.'
- Svetlana Alexievich during an interview on Book tv, C-Span 2, recorded April 25,2005

Friday night March 2,2012; revised Tuesday, May 24,2016

Art comes from everywhere, is beautiful, inspiring,
thoughit can neither sustain nor save us. It need not,

Composed on Tuesday morning, March 13,2012 after watching Darren Aronofsky's film THE FOUNTAIN; revised Monday afternoon, July 26,2021

'A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth,
But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.'

Monday night, February 18,2019 at 10: 12 p.m.

- for my wife Kim Ryan

Wednesday afternoon, January 23,2019 at 4: 05 p.m.; Thursday morning, January 24,2019 at 10: 49 a.m.; Friday morning, February 15 at 10: 40 a.m.

'To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing

Saturday morning, January 27,2018 at 9: 30 a.m.; Friday afternoon,
Feb.2,2017 at 1: 51 p.m.; Wednesday morning, May 9,2018 at 7: 10 a.m.

I thought that we had done—that poem—

Sunday morning, February 3,2019 at 10: 43 a.m.

"One makes a poem as little as one makes the weather... "
- William Bronk, from the poem "Weathers We Live In"

March 3,2004; revised Wednesday morning, January 30,2019 at 10: 04 a.m. and Monday night, February 4,2019 at 9: 40 p.m.

The act of composing produces
the greatest pleasure, joy and solace

Sunday, June 18,2006

Many of the most important poems go unwritten
and dwell in the silent spaces of these poems.

Thursday afternoon, January 16,2019 at 12: 50 p.m.

Writing these intimate poems,
making these revealing statements,

August 15,2008; 11 p.m.

A friend died
in me tonight,

Thursday morning, May 12,2005

Poetry is a part, a relation, a private conversation,
a registry and theory of our lives—all these things combined.


"I do not need that anyone should tell me
Most real goes secret, sunken, nigh-submerged"

January 14,2006; revised Sunday morning January 15,2012

Tomorrow? Wolves will hunt with wolves,
and we will have lost ourselves to bitter code—

Monday morning, February 11,2019 at 10: 35 a.m.

What is poetry?Is the reader listening
to an imaginary discourse in a disembodied

Thursday, November 26,2009;Friday morning, June 30,2017 at 9: 08 a.m.

Written after viewing the film The Constant Gardener, based on the
2001 John le Carre novel by the same title; this poem is dedicated to my

Monday evening, March 25,2019 at 7: 09 p.m.; Sunday morning, March 31 at 9: 20 a.m.

A first spring rain tonight
reminds me of Basho's poem

Dennis Ryan Biography

Dennis Joseph Ryan is a former university English professor having worked at universities in Japan and the United States, and at a high school in Freeport, Bahamas when he first began teaching in 1976. He speaks Japanese, and sometimes Japanese words and Chinese characters enter into his poems. He began publishing poems while in graduate school in the mid-1970's, and most of those poems appeared in The Alfred Review and the journal Poem. He is married to Kim Jung Sook of Puel Ri, South Korea, and is the father of two sons Devin and Shawn. He took a hiatus from writing poems at about the time of his marriage in Seoul, South Korea in December of 1981, and returned to writing poems in the late 1990's and has not stopped writing them since that time. He and his wife live in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he worked as an English lecturer in the English Department at North Carolina State University.

Lately, his poems have appeared in the last three issues (45,46,47) of Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics edited by Edward Foster. He has acknowledged as influences Shakespeare's sonnets and the work of American poets Wallace Stevens, John Ashbery, George Oppen and William Bronk, the latter two poets whom he knew, William Bronk serving as a poetry mentor in letters exchanged between the two poets from 1979 until Bronk's death in 1999. Dennis Ryan's poems often focus on the reader, addressing the reader directly in the poems, on apostrophe, on trying to explain the poems of other poets, and one of his favorite poetic devices is soliloquy because in soliloquy the speaker allows him or herself the freedom to speak the truth since no one else is there to hear it. He has written some 75 soliloquy on a number of subjects, perhaps as many as 30 soliloquys on Shakespeare's Hamlet, the speakers of these soliloquys being Hamlet, Ophelia, Horatio and other members of the Danish court. Almost all of these soliloquys from Hamlet are spoken in dialog between the characters, especially those involving Hamlet and Ophelia, and concern subjects that have gone unspoken about in the play itself. Recently, he has written soliloquys featuring the poets Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery as the speakers.

He prefers writing occasional poems about particular experiences, but sometimes writes groups of poems in a series, such as the group poems " Ten Poem Installation..." , " Five Poems: Love and Intimacy in America 2005" and " Empathy and Abstraction... " In sum, he sees a number of his poems being in dialog with each other. He also writes poems in pairs, for example paired poems after watching films such as the Japanese film " Blue" and the French film " La Vie Reves de Anges" . Most of his poems are psychological in nature, involve relation and relationships, and he is particularly interested in " the psychology of art" and relationships between art/arts (e.g. painting, sculpture, music) life and poetry, most specifically the act of writing poems. He believes that poems, their meanings, only exist when the reader is thinking about them, reciting them, acting on what they say. The importance of poetry and the other arts is that people experience them, think about them, act on them. Certain art works, paintings, sculptures, music, poems leave residues, become a part of memory, and this is the true power and importance of the arts. The art work itself, the poem, the painting, the sculpture, etc., is the vehicle utilized to achieve this goal as " Art in the end" , he says, " is personal statement that connects me to you, and, hopefully, facilitates dialog between us."

The Best Poem Of Dennis Ryan

Telling The Plain Truth

"An honest tale speeds best being plainly told."
-Queen Elizabeth speaking in William Shakespeare's RICHARD III

August 25,2006

I have been brutalized, bankrupted, betrayed—
my retinas, knees, bank account, possibilities
nearly gone.Kim is care-worn, weary, overworked.
Devin and Shawn have been battered, brutalized, traumatized;
are without prospects—you said,"being plainly told."Now, friend,
knowing this, I have one question: "Are you still my friend? "

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