Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kay Ryan, new poet laureate

Surely you've heard by now that it's time for a change of hands at the post of Poet Laureate. Kay Ryan is the new one -- the Washington Post has an article and video of her reading a wonderful poem (although beware that the video quickly spins on to the next one on file so you might suddenly be listening to John McCain!)

The Post article describes Ryan's long path to seeing herself as a writer, the longer path to getting anything published, anything recognized, and the support from her partner of 30 years, Carol Adair, and how that solid support helped organize a private campaign to keep sending out poetry submissions through the usual swamp of rejection letters. That long swamp is where most of us begin to limp, to say it might not matter, and turn inward or away. Luckily, Ryan kept going. The last few years have been a long-awaited carnival of recognition -- I saw her work first when it became a regular feature of Poetry magazine -- but that's just the last few steps on this long path. Her story is an inspiration for poets still in the swamp of despair. Take heart!

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