Every Book (of Poetry) by Kay Ryan

shelved under Books by... and Poetry

Kay Ryan is the 16th (2008-2009) Poet Laureate for the United States of America. Her poems have been published in such diverse places as The New Yorker, The American Scholar and on the New York City Subway System. 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.” Her poems are generally short, but full of a dichotomy of lightness and seriousness, of sly word play and internal rhymes.

The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

by Kay Ryan

Ryan's poems are brief, reflective, and profoundly and humorously aware of both the limitless cosmos and our limited lives, as illustrated in "The Best of It," in which she writes, "However carved up/or pared down we get/we keep on making/the best of it."

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Elephant Rocks: Poems

Elephant Rocks: Poems

by Kay Ryan

I've always felt that the ocean makes you feel small, but think big. The poems in this collection do the same.

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Flamingo Watching

Flamingo Watching

by Kay Ryan

Library Journal says:
These poems are marked with the powerful but idiosyncratic influence of Marianne Moore, whose unique style is echoed in Ryan's elliptically compressed syntax and high-toned ironic stance: "There is such a thing as/too much tolerance/for unpleasant situations,/a time when the gentle/teasing out of threads/ceases to be pleasing/to a woman born for conquest."

But unlike Moore, who knew how to modulate her astringency, Ryan's cramped syllabics have a monotonous density that too often mistakes sound for sense: "Green was the first color/to get out of the water,/leaving the later blue/and preceding yellow/which had to follow/because of fall." Occasionally, there is a clever charm in her descriptions. A garden snake is "born sans puff or rattle/he counts on persiflage/in battle". Overall, however, these poems are derivative and lacking in substance. Not recommended.

A Note from Flashlight Worthy HQ:
While we try to only list truly great books, we do have to list the occasional clunker when we're presenting a comprehensive bibliography.

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The Niagara River: Poems

The Niagara River: Poems

by Kay Ryan

64 brief, intelligent poems full of life and color. If you like both traditional elements in your poetry as well as experimentation, this book of big little poems is for you.

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Say Uncle: Poems

Say Uncle: Poems

by Kay Ryan

Clear, concise, dense and quirkily beautiful — those are just some of the adjectives to describe the poems in this fifth collection from the author.

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