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Poetry and Literature

The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Kay Ryan Discusses Her Interest in Community Colleges
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DESCRIPTION: U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan talks about why she created a project involving community colleges.

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHY: Kay Ryan taught remedial English part time for 30 years at the College of Marin in Kentfield, Calif., which helped her develop a deep appreciation for the role community colleges play in making education accessible throughout the nation. Concerning poetry itself, Ryan describes it as an intensely personal experience for both writer and reader: “Poems are transmissions from the depths of whoever wrote them to the depths of the reader,” she said. 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.

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