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Kay Ryan was Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2010. The position is chosen annually by the Librarian of Congress. Ryan's latest book, published in 2008, is an illustrated collection of poems titled The Jam Jar Lifeboat. It contains whimsical color illustrations by Carl Dern. Her other publications include The Niagara River (2005), Say Uncle (2000), Elephant Rocks (1996), Flamingo Watching (1994), Strangely Marked Metal (1985) and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983). She is also the author of numerous essays. Ryan describes poetry as an intensely personal experience for both the writer and the reader. Her many awards include the 2005 Gold Medal for Poetry from the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2004, a Guggenheim fellowship the same year and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship as well as the Maurice English Poetry Award in 2001. She lives in California.