Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Related Prose
Clarity and Obscurity in Poetry
by Sven Birkerts
Poets Forum 2010 Highlight: Discussion Panels
Report: The Poets Forum on Aesthetic Diversity
Twisting and Turning
by Maureen N. McLane
Poets Forum Reading: Free Audio Download
Recent U.S. Poets Laureate
Charles Simic
Donald Hall
Natasha Trethewey
Philip Levine
W. S. Merwin
Related Pages
Poets Forum
External Links
"Death by Fruit"
From Partisan Review, August 2000.
A profile and "Nothing Ventured"
From "Poetry for the Rest of Us" by Laura Miller,
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print
Kay Ryan
Photo courtesy of the author

Kay Ryan

Born in California in 1945, Kay Ryan grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She received both a bachelor's and master's degree from UCLA.

Ryan has published several collections of poetry, including The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press, 2010), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2011; The Niagara River (2005); Say Uncle (2000); Elephant Rocks (1996); Flamingo Watching (1994), which was a finalist for both the Lamont Poetry Selection and the Lenore Marshall Prize; Strangely Marked Metal (1985); and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983).

About her work, J. D. McClatchy has said: "Her poems are compact, exhilarating, strange affairs, like Erik Satie miniatures or Joseph Cornell boxes. She is an anomaly in today's literary culture: as intense and elliptical as Dickinson, as buoyant and rueful as Frost."

Ryan's awards include a National Humanities Medal, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and three Pushcart Prizes. Her work has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry and was included in The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997.

Ryan's poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, The Yale Review, Paris Review, The American Scholar, The Threepenny Review, Parnassus, among other journals and anthologies. She was named to the “It List” by Entertainment Weekly and one of her poems has been permanently installed at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Ryan was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2006. In 2008, Ryan was appointed the Library of Congress's sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Since 1971, she has lived in Marin County in California.


From The Poet's View: Intimate Profiles of Five Major American Poets, available in the Poetry Store. Download a free recording of Poets of Our Time, the first event of the 2007 Poets Forum. From the Image Archive

Poems by
Kay Ryan

Home to Roost
Nothing Ventured
Putting Things In Proportion
Sharks' Teeth
The Edges of Time
The Niagara River
Token Loss

Read by
Kay Ryan

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (216) by Emily Dickinson

Prose by
Kay Ryan

Video: Chickens and the Funnies
Video: Hejinian, Padgett, Phillips, & Ryan on "Wild & Strange Language"
Video: Seriously Funny

Want more poetry?
Sign up to receive our
monthly update emails.

Support independent booksellers
Make your purchase online through IndieBound or find a local bookstore on the National Poetry Map.

Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.