Poets have obsessions - structures or ideas they return to ruminate on again and again. Sifting these out usually requires deep readings and re-readings, putting batches of poems in the gold pan of your mind until the motifs rise up and glimmer jewel-like on the surface. Returning to a poet you know in this way can feel wonderful; like a secret shared, or holding your lover's hand, the sensation still holds enough mystery to keep you returning, but the knowing brings you deeper. But the time and care it takes to reveal a poet's secrets might be daunting to the new poetry reader.
Enter Kay Ryan, 16th Poet Laureate of the United States. Despite her lofty government-issued title, Ryan lays her poet's cards right out on the table, in short, sly poems that wear their obsessions boldly and yield their secrets willingly. You can re-read a Kay Ryan poem several times in one minute and ...
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