Poetry Friday: Kay Ryan, obviously.

h1 July 18th, 2008 by eisha

Kay RyanHey, ya’ll. We’ve got a new Poet Laureate: Kay Ryan. I suppose a lot of people will be posting her stuff today, so I won’t do a big thing about her. I’ll just say that I haven’t read that much of her stuff yet, but what I’ve read so far I generally like. Some of it I really love. She’s got a sharp sort of wit, a coolly detached voice, and a deceptive brevity that seems more straightforward than it is. Here’s an example, “Full Measure:”

You will get your full measure.
But, as when asking fairies for favors,
there is a trick: it comes in a block.
And of course one block is not
like another. Some respond to water,
giving everything wet a little flavor.
Some succumb to heat like butter.

You can read the rest here. This poem is especially resonant with me right now. I’m one of those people who has a strong creative impulse, but so far hasn’t really found an expressive medium in which I feel confident. I’ve tried quite a few: dance, theatre, writing, photography, guitar… but I didn’t excel at any of them. So I feel like my block is still mostly untouched, just sitting there, waiting for me to figure out how to get at it.

It’s probably something I just wouldn’t expect. Like, découpage.

Anyway. Congrats to Kay Ryan: thanks for sharing your full measure with us.

The inimitable Kelly Fineman is handling this week’s round-up, bless her. Go see.

12 comments to “Poetry Friday: Kay Ryan, obviously.”

  1. That poem’s a little scary. But I like it.

    Also: some people’s creative gift is being able to say: “Hey y’all. We’ve got a new Poet Laureate” and be totally believable. There is also the art of connecting art to those who need it.

  2. Smashing choice.

  3. Sara, you’re sweet. But it could be decoupage. Or maybe lanyards. Or those woven potholders. I’ll figure it out eventually. Don’t be scared – you’re obviously the master of your block.

    Thanks, Kelly. Everyone, Kelly has done a largish post on Kay Ryan – you should read it first.

  4. Okay, wow, that poem is intense. Now I have to go drink more coffee and introspect.

  5. Eisha,

    Methinks it’s not that you aren’t talented–it’s that you haven’t yet found a way to express your creativity that’s held your interest, fulfilled you, or that you love so much that you’d be willing to work at the art or craft…for a long time.

    P.S. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of Kay Ryan’s poetry.

  6. Thank you so much for striking a chord! You put into words exactly how i feel. I’m always searching for my perfect outlet- is it singing, acting, writing, cooking, teaching, photography, collage art?? Why should we limit ourselves to one box? Maybe we have many. Maybe they are time sensitive. Maybe they morph.

  7. LOVE this poem. And I feel exactly as you do!

  8. Maybe it is blogging. It’s kind of like decoupage, what with all the linking and highlighting illustrators, what? I could see 7 Imp as a great big treasure box decoupaged with all your favorite children’s illustrations and quotes from those you’ve interviewed. And poetry, of course, or maybe that’s what’s inside.

  9. You could decoupage fairies on wooden blocks.

  10. Oh, Kay Ryan. You’re my favorite. Now other people know who you are, too!

    And Eisha, what the hell are you talking about? You’re OBVIOUSLY a writer – what do you mean you “didn’t excel” at writing? How else did these words get on the page, get read by people, and get responded to if not through writing? Do you… do you not know what writing is? Is that the problem? Because YOU’RE DOING IT ALREADY

  11. *snort*

  12. […] with poetess and princess Kelly Fineman. Don’t miss her celebration of Kay Ryan, and Eisha’s too. None of us have posted the same Ryan poem, imagine […]

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