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Sunday, January 22, 2012


(Stars, engraving by Christoph Weigel, 1654-1725, German engraver and publisher)

In 2008, after she was appointed U. S. poet laureate, Kay Ryan talked to journalist Andrea Seabrook.

Seabrook: You said your poems are almost an empty suitcase.

Ryan: Well, I've always been extremely enamored of cartoons and cartooning, in which you have essentially just the outline, and I think if you leave something empty but charged in some way, not overly elaborated, you can have a surprising number of things come out of people when they read it. That's what I'm hoping, anyhow, and I mean, the truth is, it just is my constitution to do things that way.

Seabrook: To keep things sparse but powerful?

Ryan: Really simple, yeah. Well, hopefully. I mean, that would be the ideal.


Stardust is
the hardest thing
to hold out for.
You must
make of yourself
a perfect place —
something still
upon which
something settles —
something like
sugar grains on
something like
metal, but with
none of the chill.
It’s hard to explain.

~ Kay Ryan, born 1945, American poet, appointed poet laureate, 2007-2010


The old gentleman... said...

Here a philosopher might speak of receptivity---which calls for an attentiveness to all that is. We especially need, it strikes me, a receptivity to the least little ones among us. And, yes, stardust is a start!

maria horvath said...

Well said, dear Old Gentleman.

And Welcome back! We have missed you.