This year the Wallace Stevens Poetry Program will feature former U.S. poet laureate and 2011 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her collection The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Kay Ryan. Though Ryan did not publish her first book until she was forty years old her work has earned her numerous accolades.
Ryan’s poems have been included in three Pushcart Prize anthologies, and have been selected four times for The Best American Poetry. “Outsider Art” was selected by Harold Bloom for The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997. Since 2006, Ryan has served as one of fourteen Chancellors of The Academy of American Poets. On January 22, 2011, Ryan was listed as a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2011, Ryan was awarded the MacArthur Fellows Program “genius” grant. Ryan has published seven volumes of poetry and an anthology of selected and new poems. She has also taught remedial English for more than 30 years at a community college in California.
In an interview with The Paris Review from 2008, Ryan talks about her writing style and what she thinks of her own work as it has evolved from when she first began writing. Instead of attempting to continue to summarize an amazing interview, I would highly suggest reading it and finding out about the interesting woman who will be coming to UConn’s campus soon: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5889/the-art-of-poetry-no-94-kay-ryan.
On Monday April 9th at 7 P.M. in the Konover Auditorium Ryan will read some of her work and talk with UConn students. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for UConn students; take advantage of the opportunity to listen to a wonderful poet and teacher talk about her work and life.