Kay Ryan was named 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2009 in July 2008. She was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert.
After obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA, she published several collections of poetry, including Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983), Strangely Marked Metal (1985), Flamingo Watching (1994), Elephant Rocks (1996), Say Uncle (2000) and The Niagara River (2005).
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. Since l971, she has lived in Marin County in California.
Kay Ryan reads two of her poems in this web exclusive.