Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kay Ryan, Poet

It's the birthday of the poet Kay Ryan, born in San Jose, California (1945), who went for a 4,000-mile cross-country bicycle trip just before her 30th birthday to take stock of her life. She was somewhere in the middle of Colorado when the rhythmic movement of pedaling got her thinking about the poetry she occasionally wrote in her spare time, and she suddenly decided to devote her life to becoming a professional poet. So she got a job teaching composition at a local college, and made sure that she would only have to teach two days a week, so she could spend all the rest of her time writing. She pared her life down to the barest essentials to live on her meager salary, and for the next couple decades, she lived that way, publishing four books of poetry, including Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983) and Flamingo Watching (1994). Her books got very little attention, and she didn't go out of her way to attract any attention. She was happy to live her private simple life, writing poems.

by Kay Ryan

One does not stack.
It would be like
a mouse on the back
of a mouse
on a mouse's back.
Courses of mice,
layers of shivers
and whiskers,
a wobbling tower
with nothing more
than a mouse inside.

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