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Kay Ryan image

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet & U.S. Poet Laureate (2008 – 2010)



Kay Ryan, United States Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert.  She has lived in Marin County in Northern California since 1971.

Ryan’s collections of poetry include most recently the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Best of It, New and Selected Poems (Grove Press, 2010); The Niagara River (2005); Say Uncle (2000); Elephant Rocks (1996); and Flamingo Watching (1994). Her new book of poems, Erratic Facts, was published by Grove Press in October 2015.

About her work, J.D. McClatchy has said: "Her poems are compact, exhilarating, strange affairs, like Erik Satie miniatures or Joseph Cornell boxes. She is an anomaly in today's literary culture: as intense and elliptical as Dickinson, as buoyant and rueful as Frost."

Ryan's awards include a MacArthur “Genius” Award; The National Humanities Medal awarded by President Obama in 2012;  the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Ingram Merrill Award.

Ryan was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2006. In 2008, she was appointed the Library of Congress's sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.