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Kay Ryan: Online Resources

Created by Peter Armenti, Digital Reference Specialist

Kay Ryan, U.S. Poet Laureate
Kay Ryan
U.S. Poet Laureate, 2008-10

Photo by Christina Koci Hernandez

On July 17, 2008, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Kay Ryan as the 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. On making the appointment, Dr. Billington said, "Kay Ryan is a distinctive and original voice within the rich variety of contemporary American poetry. She writes easily understandable short poems on improbable subjects. Within her compact compositions there are many surprises in rhyme and rhythm and in sly wit pointing to subtle wisdom."

Ryan served two terms as poet laureate. During her second term, she created the Poetry for the Mind's Joy Project as a way to increase the appreciation and visibility of poetry on community college campuses. Community colleges throughout the country were invited to hold a campus-wide poetry contest, with winning poems considered for addition to an online anthology on the Library of Congress Web site. The culmination of the project was Community College Poetry Day on April 1, 2010, during which Ryan led a one-hour videoconference with students from selected community college campuses. Ryan ended her duties as poet laureate on May 20, 2010.

This guide compiles links to resources on Kay Ryan throughout the Library of Congress Web site, as well as links to external Web sites that include features on her life or selections of her work. To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Digital Reference Section.


Library of Congress Web Site
   •National Poetry Project
   •Press Releases, Articles
   •Poetry 180 Poems
   •Audio and Video
   •Print Resources
External Web Sites
   •Biographical Information, Poetry
   •Interviews, Articles, and Conversations
   •Audio Recordings
   •Articles and Essays by Kay Ryan
   •Book Reviews
   •Kay Ryan in the News

Library of Congress Web Site


Poetry and Literature Center Biography of Kay Ryan

National Poetry Project

Poetry for the Mind's Joy

Kay Ryan's Poetry for the Mind’s Joy project includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively video conference coming April 1, 2010.

Press Releases, Articles

"New Laurels for the 16th Laureate"
Library of Congress Blog, April 18, 2011

"Knowing Kay Ryan"
Library of Congress Blog, July 30, 2008

Official press release announcing Kay Ryan's appointment as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry (July 17, 2008)

"'Sly Wit, Subtle Wisdom': Librarian Appoints Kay Ryan Poet Laureate"
Library of Congress Information Bulletin, September 2008

"Library of Congress Appoints Kay Ryan to Second Term as U.S. Poet Laureate"
Press Release, April 13, 2009

"College Connection: Poet Laureate Chats with Community College Students"
Library of Congress Information Bulletin, May 2010

Poetry 180 Poems

Poem 17 - "Bad Day"

Poem 83 - "Turtle"

Poem 89 - "Dutch"

Audio and Video

Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's Farewell Reading, May 20, 2010 (1:00:44)

Kay Ryan Opens the 2009 Literary Season, October 21, 2009 (59:48)

2009 National Book Festival Webcast (41:29)

Kay Ryan Opens the 2008 Literary Season, October 16, 2008 (52:59)

2008 National Book Festival Webcast (1:03:29)

Poet and Poem interview, September 26, 2008 (direct link; 58:58)

Kay Ryan: Book Festival 08 Podcast (21:49)

Kay Ryan reading at the Library, November 1, 2001 (direct link; 27:33) [catalog record]

Print Resources

Works by Kay Ryan in the Library of Congress online catalog can be found under the following author heading:

Ryan, Kay

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

(Some links open RealAudio files. Download a free version of RealPlayer software.)

Biographical Information, Poetry

Academy of American Poets
Biography of Kay Ryan, samples of her poetry, and links to external resources.

MacArther Foundation
Brief biography and video clip of Ryan, who won a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship.

Poetry Daily
Overview of Ryan's life and poetic style. Originally published in 100 Essential Modern Poems (2005).

Poetry Foundation
Biography of Kay Ryan, more than 20 full-text poems, and several articles by Ryan.

The Steven Barclay Agency
Biography of Kay Ryan and links to other Web sites.

Interviews, Articles, and Conversations

"Poet Kay Ryan Named MacArthur Fellow"
Voice of America, September 21, 2011

"Pulitzer Winner Kay Ryan on Poetry, Rhyming, and Terminal Cancer"
Speakeasy blog, The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2011

"Hall-Kenyon Poetry Prize goes to Kay Ryan"
Concord Monitor, April 18, 2011

"The Exit Interview: Poet Laureate Kay Ryan"
Washington City Paper Arts Desk blog, May 19, 2010

"Celebrating National Poetry Month"
Voice of America, April 4, 2010

Interview with the College of Southern Maryland
March 25, 2010

"U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan Speaks, Teaches at Stanford"
Stanford Report, March 8, 2010

"An Interview with Poet Laureate Kay Ryan" (18:52)
Radio Colorado Radio, November 4, 2009

"Poet Laureate Sets Sights on Community Colleges"
Roll Call, October 27, 2009

"Poet Laureate Kay Ryan Pushes Verse for Community Colleges"
Online NewsHour, October 22, 2009

"Poetry for Community Colleges"
Inside Higher Ed, October 21, 2009

"Catching Up with Kay Ryan, Poet Laureate, at the National Book Festival"
The Washington Post, September 26, 2009

"US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan Dazzles With Terse, Witty Words"
Voice of America, July 21, 2009

"The Reluctant Poet Laureate"
Newsweek, June 27, 2009

"Kay Ryan, The Art of Poetry No. 94"
The Paris Review, no. 187 (Winter 2008)

"The Outsider Artist: Assessing Kay Ryan, Our New Poet Laureate"
Slate, July 29, 2008

"America's Busiest Poet"
Time, July 23, 2008

"Kay Ryan, a Laureate Worth Lauding"
The New York Sun, July 18, 2008

"Poet Laureate of the United States: Kay Ryan"
SFGate, July 18, 2008

"Verse of the Turtle"
The Washignton Post, July 17, 2008

"Kay Ryan, Outsider With Sly Style, Named Poet Laureate"
The New York Times, July 17, 2008

"Stray Questions for: Kay Ryan"
Paper Cuts blog, The New York Times, October 19, 2007

"Kay Ryan Rises to the Top Despite Her Refusal to Compromise"
Marin Independent Journal, September 23, 2007

"Cooling the Surface, Tending the Cracks: An Interview with Kay Ryan"
Interviewed by Jane Collins, Drunken Boat, March 2006

"Poet Kay Ryan: A Profile"
The Christian Science Monitor, August 25, 2004

"Poet Kay Ryan wins Ruth Lilly Prize"
USA Today (Associated Press), June 14, 2004

"Discovering Kay Ryan"
Dana Gioia Online. Originally published in The Dark Horse, no. 7 (Winter 1998-99)

Audio Recordings

Radio Programs

"U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan awarded 2011 MacArthur 'Genius Grant'"
Southern California Public Radio, September 20, 2011

Kay Ryan (30:30)
Nevada Public Radio, December 30, 2009

Poet Kay Ryan (45:47)
On Point, WBUR, July 24, 2008

Poet Laureate Kay Ryan (06:03)
KQED, July 23, 2008

Poet Kay Ryan On Words, Writing (05:33)
All Things Considered, NPR, July 20, 2008

Kay Ryan at the West Chester Poetry Conference (four recordings)
June 2008

Dana Gioia and Kay Ryan (Direct link, 58:50)
Literary Friendships with Garrison Keillor, March 4, 2005

Other Audio

"The Best of It" (29:52)
Recording from the Key West Literary Seminar, January 2010

"Poet Laureate Kay Ryan Pushes Verse for Community Colleges"
Online NewsHour, October 22, 2009 (audio interview [08:09] appears at bottom of page)

Aspen Ideas Festival
July 2008

Abusing Animals in the Name of Poetry
Poetry Off the Shelf, Poetry Foundation, May 1, 2008

Kay Ryan on Robert Frost
Poetry Off the Shelf, Poetry Foundation, September 19, 2007

Garrison Keillor Reads Ryan's Poems (audio available for poems from 2001-present)
The Writer's Almanac

Ryan Reads "Blandeur" and "Waste" (01:15)
National Endowment for the Arts

Academy of American Poets Recordings

"Home to Roost"
"The Edges of Time"
"The Niagara River"

The Atlantic Monthly Recordings

"This Life"
"Among English Verbs"


Kay Ryan with Atsuro Riley (52:34)
Lannan Foundation, April 13, 2011

Poetry Series: Kay Ryan
Online NewsHour Poetry Series, March 9, 2009. See also the NewsHour's home page on Ryan.

A Conversation with Kay Ryan, U.S. Poet Laureate and James Billington, Librarian of Congress (21:29)
The Charlie Rose Show, November 6, 2008

Casa Romantica - Kay Ryan (09:48)
Ryan reads from The Niagara River at a Casa Romantica Reading Series appearance, San Clemente, CA, April 30, 2008. (videotaped by www.Poetry.LA; offered via YouTube)

The Poet's View - Kay Ryan on Her Poem "Home to Roost" (02:47)
The Academy of American Poets

Kay Ryan (04:59)
Online NewsHour Poetry Series, July 26, 2006. See also the NewsHour's home page on Ryan.

YouTube Videos
YouTube video results for Kay Ryan

Articles and Essays by Kay Ryan

"Marin County, Sort Of"
Poetry Foundation Web site (originally published in Poetry, November 2009)

"I Demand to Speak with God"
Poetry Foundation Web site (originally published in Poetry, September 2007)

"Sweet Talk"
Poetry Foundation Web site (originally published in Poetry, February 2007)

"Laugh While You Can: A Consideration of Poetry"
Poetry Foundation Web site (originally published in Poetry, May 2006)

"William Bronk"
Poetry Foundation Web site (originally published in Poetry, March 2006)

Reviews Dan Chiasson's Natural History: Poems
The New York Times, November 20, 2005

"I Go to AWP"
Poetry, July 2005. See also several letters to the editor sent in response to this article.

"The Double"
Poetry Foundation Web site (originally published in Poetry, April 2005)

Reviews The Poems of Marianne Moore
Poetry Daily, 2004 (originally published in The Yale Review)

Reviews The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore
The Boston Review, Summer 1998

Book Reviews

The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010)

The Christian Science Monitor

Contemporary Poetry Review

Los Angeles Times

The New York Times

San Francisco Chronicle

The Washington Post

The Niagara River: Poems (2005)

Books, Inq.: The Epilogue


The New York Times

One Poet's Notes

The Virginia Quarterly Review

Say Uncle (2000)

The Alsop Review (archived review)

Elephant Rocks (1996)

Able Muse

Kay Ryan in the News

Google News search on Kay Ryan

Blog entries on Kay Ryan, via Google Blogs


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