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kay ryan



I've decided to implement a new poetry-awareness initiative into the Useless Critic. seems like I'm the only contributor that gives a tolerant shit on the subject, so might as well!

I start with a poet that all my comrades-in-arms in Poetry Workshop are way too familiar with, and that would be our current Poet Laureate, Kay Ryan.


I'm not sure I like her style, nor appreciate it a great deal. It's a lot like Elizabeth Bishop to me and I am no Elizabeth Bishop fan. Too....blah. like, I see the experimentation and I can like, respect that. I see certain things with the flow and the style that are interesting but really. Really? Overall not my bag.


Nonetheless, she earned the title of Poet Laureate for a reason. A good way to describe her stuff is "compact," as I read in a biography. I tend to agree. see here:

THINGS SHOULDN'T BE SO HARD
A life should leave
deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks. The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn't
be so hard.

...

somedays I would do anything to be nine again.

Comments

  1. w00t. I don't know, I think I might judge poets too much by how they look (LINDA LEE HARPER; TS ELIOT; BRYCE PHILLIPS).

    but seriously, after writing the kay ryan explication, I came into a whole new appreciation for her poetry.

    ahem

    for the masses:

    Mockingbird

    Nothing whole
    is so bold we
    sense. Nothing
    not cracked is
    so exact and
    of a piece. He's
    the distempered
    emperor of parts
    the king of patch,
    the master of
    pastiche, who so
    hashes other birds'
    laments, so minces
    their capriccios that
    the dazzle of dispatch
    displaces the originals.
    As though brio
    really does beat feeling
    the way two aces
    beat three hearts
    when it's cards
    you're dealing.


    kinda loved it, actually. especially the dickinsonian quip at the end. we should do a recited poetry night - people challenge themselves to do poetry recitations. less pressure than in a class setting. and you can pick anything!

    ReplyDelete
  2. !!! YES!

    we just talked about this. I'm really in, all the way.

    ReplyDelete

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