Kay Ryan's recent appointment as the Library of Congress's sixteenth poet laureate is just the latest in an amazing array of accolades for this wonderfully accessible, widely loved poet. Salon has compared her poems to Faberge eggs, tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder." The two hundred poems in Ryan's The Best of It offer a stunning retrospective of her work, as well as a swath of never-before-published poems of which are sure to appeal equally to longtime fans and general readers.
"The Best of It" - Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry "Everything [Ryan's] eye falls upon takes on a brisk, beautifully complete clarity. Her tidy lines disguise an enormous intelligence and tonal warmth: a ferocious capacity for finding the essence of things. The Best of It reveals that right before our eyes Ryan has become a classic American poet."--John Freeman, "Los Angeles Times" "Ryan is one of the few contemporary poets to have imitators because she is one of the few truly compelling stylists now at work. Her voice is authoritative, confident, unfussy, exacting...she is astutely reserved, watchful, and understands that no one is special in his or her grief...So many "new and selected" volumes come out each year, but "The Best of It" is rare in being truly the best of the poet's work so far. Kay Ryan is so disarming, so fresh and original, that she has earned her recent reputation as one of the very best poets among us."--David Mason, "The Hudson Review" "Ryan's poems are consistent delights. They fizz with euphonies, they crackle with rhyme and off-rhyme...they are marvels of compact, slightly bitter wit...Ryan's poems are what Robert Frost said all poems must be, momentary stays against confusion."--Stephen Burt, "San Francisco Chronicle" ""The Best of It" is a generous and nearly career-spanning collection of her verse, a greatest-hits album of a sort...you can't help consuming [her] poems quickly, the way you are supposed to consume freshly made cocktails: while they are still smiling at you. But you immediately double back--what was that?--and their moral and intellectual bite blindsides you."--Dwight Garner, "The New York Times" "Melancholy lucidity is Ryan's greatest gift, and it can be heard in all her most successful poems. But her most startling discovery is that melancholy, with its tendency to brood and spread, is best contained in a form that is tight, witty, almost sprightly sounding. Her poems are often buil
About the Author
A Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets since 2006, Kay Ryan won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for "The Best of It" and was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2008 until 2010. She has lived in Marin County, California, since 1971.