Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan Poems

Nothing exists as a block
and cannot be parceled up.
So if nothing's ventured
it's not just talk;

To the dragon
any loss is total.

It is at the edges
that time

As though
the river were

Patience is wider
than one once envisioned,

The chickens are circling
and blotting out the day.

Say when rain
cannot make
you more wet

Everything contains some silence.
Noise gets its zest from the small

Trying to walk
the same way
to the same store

"If we have not struggled
as hard as we can
at our strongest
how will we sense

Like a storm
of hornets, the
little white planets
layer and relayer

There doesn't seem
to be a crack. A
higher pin cannot
be set. Nor can
you go back. You
hadn't even known
the face was vertical.
All you did was
walk into a room.
The tipping up
from flat was
gradual, you
must assume.


Death has a life
of  its own. See
how its album
has grown in
a year and how
the sharp blot of it
has softened
till those could
almost be shadows
behind the
cherry blossoms
in this shot.
In fact you
couldn't prove
they're not.


Extreme exertion
isolates a person
from help,
discovered Atlas.
Once a certain
ratio collapses,
there is so little
others can do:
they can't
lend a hand
with Brazil
and not stand
on Peru.

There is a
distance where
magnets pull,
we feel, having
held them
back. Likewise
there is a
distance where
words attract.
Set one out
like a bait goat
and wait and
seven others
will approach.
But watch out:
roving packs can
pull your word
away. You
find your stake
yanked and some
rough bunch
to thank.

The whole ball
of who we are
presses into
the green baize
at a single tiny
spot. An aural
track of crackle
betrays our passage
through the
fibrous jungle.
It's hot and
desperate. Insects
spring out of it.
The pressure is
intense, and the
sense that we've
lost proportion.
As though bringing
too much to bear
too locally were
our decision.

If it please God,
let less happen.
Even out Earth's
rondure, flatten
Eiger, blanden
the Grand Canyon.
Make valleys
slightly higher,
widen fissures
to arable land,
remand your
terrible glaciers
and silence
their calving,
halving or doubling
all geographical features
toward the mean.
Unlean against our hearts.
Withdraw your grandeur
from these parts.


The holes have
almost left the
sky and the blanks
the paths—the
patches next to
natural, corroborated
by the incidental
sounds of practical
activities and crows,
themselves exhibiting
many of the earmarks
of the actual. This
must have happened
many times before,
we must suppose.
Almost a pulse
if we could speed
it up: the repeated
seeking of our several
senses toward each
other, fibers trying to
reach across the gap
as fast as possible,
following a blast.

We are always
really carrying
a ladder, but it's
invisible. We
only know
the matter:
something precious
crashes; easy doors
prove impassable.
Or, in the body,
there's too much
swing or off-
center gravity.
And, in the mind,
a drunken capacity,
access to out-of-range
apples. As though
one had a way to climb
out of the damage
and apology.

It seems like you could, but
you can't go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It's all too deep for that.
You've overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you're given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them—
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,
twisting back down its upward course
a strong and then a stronger rope,
the greenest saddest strongest
kind of hope.

Kay Ryan Biography

an American poet and educator. She has published seven volumes of poetry and an anthology of selected and new poems. Ryan was the sixteenth United States Poet Laureate, from 2008 to 2010. Biography Ryan was born in San Jose, California, and was raised in several areas of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. After attending Antelope Valley College, she received bachelor's and master's degrees in English from University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1971, she has lived in Marin County, California, and has taught English part-time at the College of Marin in Kentfield. Carol Adair, who was also an instructor at the College of Marin, was Ryan's partner from 1978 until Adair's death in 2009. Her first collection, Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends, was privately published in 1983 with the help of friends. While she found a commercial publisher for her second collection, Strangely Marked Metal (1985), her work went nearly unrecognized until the mid 1990s, when some of her poems were anthologized and the first reviews in national journals were published. She became widely recognized following her receipt of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2004, and published her sixth collection of poetry, The Niagara River, in 2005. In July 2008, the U.S. Library of Congress announced that Ryan would be the sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for a one-year term commencing in Autumn 2008. She succeeded Charles Simic. In April 2009, the Library announced that Ryan would serve a second one-year term extending through May 2010. She was succeeded by W.S. Merwin in June 2010. She lives in Fairfax, in Marin County, CA. Poetry The Poetry Foundation's website has characterized Ryan's poems as follows: "Like Emily Dickinson and Marianne Moore before her, Ryan delights in quirks of logic and language and teases poetry out of the most unlikely places. She regards the 'rehabilitation of clichés,' for instance, as part of the poet’s mission. Characterized by subtle, surprising rhymes and nimble rhythms, her compact poems are charged with sly wit and off-beat wisdom." J. D. McClatchy included Ryan in his 2003 anthology of contemporary American poetry. He wrote in his introduction, "Her poems are compact, exhilarating, strange affairs, like Satie miniatures or Cornell boxes. ... There are poets who start with lived life, still damp with sorrow or uncertainty, and lead it towards ideas about life. And there are poets who begin with ideas and draw life in towards their speculations. Marianne Moore and May Swenson were this latter sort of artist; so is Kay Ryan." Ryan's poems are often quite short. In one of the first essays on Ryan, Dana Gioia wrote about this aspect of her poetry. "Ryan reminds us of the suggestive power of poetry–how it elicits and rewards the reader’s intellect, imagination, and emotions. I like to think that Ryan’s magnificently compressed poetry – along with the emergence of other new masters of the short poem like Timothy Murphy and H.L. Hix and the veteran maestri like Ted Kooser and Dick Davis – signals a return to concision and intensity." Many reviewers have noted an affinity between Ryan's poetry and Marianne Moore's. In addition to the oft-remarked affinity with Moore, affinities with poets May Swenson, Stevie Smith, Emily Dickinson, Wendy Cope, and Amy Clampitt have been noted by some critics. Thus Katha Pollitt wrote that Ryan's fourth collection, Elephant Rocks (1997), is "Stevie Smith rewritten by William Blake" but that Say Uncle (2000) "is like a poetical offspring of George Herbert and the British comic poet Wendy Cope." Another reviewer of Say Uncle (2000) wrote of Ryan, "Her casual manner and nods to the wisdom tradition might endear her to fans of A. R. Ammons or link her distantly to Emily Dickinson. But her tight structures, odd rhymes and ethical judgments place her more firmly in the tradition of Marianne Moore and, latterly, Amy Clampitt." Ryan's wit, quirkiness, and slyness are often noted by reviewers of her poetry, but Jack Foley emphasizes her essential seriousness. In his review of Say Uncle he writes, "There is, in short, far more darkness than 'light' in this brilliant, limited volume. Kay Ryan is a serious poet writing serious poems, and she resides on a serious planet (a word she rhymes with 'had it'). Ryan can certainly be funny, but it is rarely without a sting." Some of these disjoint qualities in her work are illustrated by her poem "Outsider Art", which Harold Bloom selected for the anthology The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997. Ryan is also known for her extensive use of internal rhyme. She refers to her specific methods of using internal rhyme as "recombinant rhyme." She claims that she had a hard time "tak[ing] end-rhyme seriously," and uses recombinant rhyme to bring structure and form to her work. As for other types of form, Ryan claims that she cannot use them, stating that it is "like wearing the wrong clothes." Honors and Awards Ryan's awards include a 1995 award from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the 2000 Union League Poetry Prize, the 2001 Maurice English Poetry Award, a fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2004 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Her poems have been included in three Pushcart Prize anthologies, and have been selected four times for The Best American Poetry; "Outsider Art" was selected by Harold Bloom for The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997. Since 2006, Ryan has served as one of fourteen Chancellors of The Academy of American Poets. On January 22, 2011, Ryan was listed as a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award; on April 18, 2011, Ryan won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, for her collection The Best of It: New and Selected Poems. On September 20th, 2011, Ryan was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Fellows Program 'genius grant.')

The Best Poem Of Kay Ryan

Nothing Ventured

Nothing exists as a block
and cannot be parceled up.
So if nothing's ventured
it's not just talk;
it's the big wager.
Don't you wonder
how people think
the banks of space
and time don't matter?
How they'll drain
the big tanks down to
slime and salamanders
and want thanks?

Kay Ryan Comments

Anna Polibina-Polansky 05 March 2023

I will firstly have to struggle with you aging looks, and only then we may think of the prospectives. I haven't found a candy bar nicely wrapped. Wha is for genre fame, I have no idea what to do with mine. What RU waiting for? Death, immortality?

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Anna Polibina-Polansky 05 March 2023

You take no advantage of my black breed, height, slimness, young age, fame, energy, mirth, genres, talent. I am considerably,34 years younger.

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Anna Polibina-Polansky 05 March 2023

You walk another semisphere, and I know nothing of your local Zions, but I watch many ladies envying us here. Are you death and dumb, your majesty my sweetness? What bliss are you looking for?

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Anna Polibina-Polansky 05 March 2023

Look up my pics plz. Flickr - Anna Polibina-Polansky. We are unacquainted, of different age, genres, beliefs and values; but you ought to have a general idea of my looks.

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I wonder if the sand crisps the same way as snowy valleys do here, if sharp constellations may remind tge Norther glow across the celestial realm...

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Look up my snapshots: Flickr - Anna Polibina-Polansky. We are unacquainted, of different age, genres, beliefs and values; but if you have no idea of my looks, the planet will go wrong. Don't bither me thru the Zion.

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