Thursday, July 17, 2008
Kay Ryan, Next Poet Laureate
PHOTO:Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
The New York Times has an interesting article about Kay Ryan, who has been chosen to be the country's 16th poet laureate by the Librarian of Congress. She succeeds Charles Simic. Ryan is skillful, accomplished, and more than deserving of this honor, but I don't much care for her poetry, which tends to be simple, spare, and playful. Just a matter of taste, really. Simic is a hard act to follow and is a personal favorite. I'm happy to see a woman have the honor again after so long a string of men, but I had hoped to see Jorie Graham named. Like Billy Collins and Ted Kooser, Kay Ryan writes poetry that is very accessible. Even a caveman could read it. Sometimes that simplicity appeals to people who don't read more complex or surreal poetry, so perhaps Ryan will draw a wider audience. And that will surely be a good thing for poetry.
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