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Kay Ryan, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

About Kay Ryan at the Library of Congress

Kay Ryan served as the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress from 2008-2010, having officially begun his term on October 16th, 2008. The links below provide more information about Ryan's activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.

On July 17, 2008, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Kay Ryan as the 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. On making the appointment, Dr. Billington said,

"Kay Ryan is a distinctive and original voice within the rich variety of contemporary American poetry. She writes easily understandable short poems on improbable subjects. Within her compact compositions there are many surprises in rhyme and rhythm and in sly wit pointing to subtle wisdom."

Ryan served two terms as poet laureate. During her second term, she created the Poetry for the Mind's Joy Project as a way to increase the appreciation and visibility of poetry on community college campuses. Community colleges throughout the country were invited to hold a campus-wide poetry contest, with winning poems considered for addition to an online anthology on the Library of Congress Web site. The culmination of the project was Community College Poetry Day on April 1, 2010, during which Ryan led a one-hour videoconference with students from selected community college campuses. Ryan ended her duties as poet laureate on May 20, 2010.

Kay Ryan has been featured on both the Poetry and Literature Center's blog, From the Catbird Seat, and on the Library's main blog. Those blog posts are linked below:

The Library of Congress features several recordings of Kay Ryan reading and discussing her poetry and the poetry of other poets. These are listed below.


Audio Recordings