Kay Ryan was born in 1945 in California and since 1971 has lived in Marin County. Her previous collections include The Niagara River (2005), Say Uncle (2000), Elephant Rocks (1996) and Flamingo Watching (1994). Ryan's awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Yale Review and The Paris Review. In 2008 she was appointed the sixteenth Poet Laureate of the United States of America.
You can't help consuming Kay Ryan's poems quickly, the way you are supposed to consume freshly made cocktails: while they are still smiling at you. But you immediately double back - what was that? A-- - and their moral and intellectual bite blindsides you. THE NEW YORK TIMES These are fine poems that inspire us with poetry's greatest gifts: the music of language and the force of wisdom. ANNIE DILLARD Kay Ryan works toward an exciting art, much less sparse than it looks. This is natural history seen from an angle of vision that Emerson and Dickinson would have approved. It refreshes me to find poems that require and reward rereading as much as these do. HAROLD BLOOM