Poetry by current US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, the 16th poet laureate of the United States
US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan

DEW by Kay Ryan, US Poet Laureate

As neatly as peas
in their green canoe,
as discreetly as beads
strung in a row,
sit drops of dew
along a blade of grass.
But unattached and
subject to their weight,
they slip if they accumulate.
Down the green tongue
out of the morning sun into the general damp, they’re gone.

According to this article by Adam Phillips,

For the past year, Kay Ryan has been serving as America’s 16th poet laureate, tapped by the librarian of Congress to be ambassador for American poetry. She has published more than half a dozen books of collected poems. She is well-known for her compact, vivid and accessible verse.

The august marble-and-gilt halls of the Library of Congress, where Ryan has her official headquarters, seem an unlikely place for someone raised in what she calls the “glamour-free, ocean-free, hot, stinky, oil-rich, potato-rich” San Joaquin Valley of California. But then, growing up, Ryan didn’t want to be poet.

“It [to declare oneself a poet] seemed like putting on airs,” she says. “It seemed self-absorbed. It seemed like something that my oil well driller father wouldn’t understand at all and that my mother would disapprove of, because it was just showing off.”

Kay, I hear ya! My grandfather Norris Nathan and his brother Normal Claude were the first set of twins born in the San Joaquin, in Oildale, to an oil man. Although they moved away from Oildale–all the way to Bakersfield– they all worked in the oil fields at one time or another. My dad was born just a few years before you–you may have even gone to school together.

Continue reading this article by Adam Phillips from 21 July 2009 about US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan and hear her read more of her poems.

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