James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, has selected Kay Ryan to succeed Charles Simic as the next U.S. poet laureate. The Northern California poet will be the 16th poet to hold the post. Full story here.
Seven responses from around teh internets:
Ron Silliman says Ryan is "the 47th consecutive School of Quietude poet to hold the position in its 71 year history."
Annie Wagner says not bad.
Vowel Movers say "congratulations Kay Ryan! Your one year of service as PLOTUS entitles you to no power whatsoever!"
, "She's neither folksy and ultra-accessible like the popular Billy Collins nor mandarin and imperious like the critical darling Louise Glück."
The New Yorker has selected emails.
David Orr is down with Kay.
Daily Kos says being a gay-married Californian is a statement in itself.

Originally Published: July 16th, 2008

Travis Nichols is the author of two books of poetry: Iowa (2010, Letter Machine Editions) and See Me Improving (2010); and he is the author of two novels: Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (2012) and The More You Ignore Me (2013). He has contributed to The Believer, Paste, The...

  1. July 16, 2008
     Kenneth Goldsmith

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

  2. July 17, 2008
     Emily Warn

    Kay Ryan could be talking about Kenny G. in her recent essay on Frost when she writes:
    "There is a whole category of poets who are the "talking-back" poets, getting much of their energy from disagreeing or taking exception. Frost is at the top of the list. Frost always has to have this push-back he's writing against. He can argue harder; he can put all his force on one side; and he doesn't need to be fair. Plus, it's fun. We know he's talking about himself when he advises, "take an extreme position for the fun of battle." His natural rhetorical stance is dialogue, even when he's the only one talking, in which case he calls it "self-repartee" or "my part in a conversation in which the other part is more or less implied." Frost never doubts the generative potential of his own mind: "The best mind asks and answers his own questions not questions asked by others." Here's a typical bit of Frost fun:
    I demand to speak with God
    What is your business with God
    I couldn't explain that to anybody but God
    There is not God
    So much the better perhaps. Because that rules out half my business. If there is no God there can be no future life. The present life is all I should have to worry about."
    To read the rest of this essay ("I Demand to Speak with God") and several of her other essays and poems, go here. Or to listen to her on a recent podcast called "Abusing Animals in the Name of Poetry," go here.
    Congratulations, Kay!

  3. July 17, 2008

    I have nothing against Kay Ryan, I guess. But wouldn't it be nice to just once have a poet laureate who's actually, like, controversial? I mean, any reader of this blog knows that poetry is full of controversy, but you wouldn't know it based on the comfy-chair poets who keep getting chosen for the position. (I don't mean to trash all of everything each of them did, does, and will do...I like Louise Glueck. (I'm using "ue" because I don't know how to make an umlaut on a PC. Stupid PC.))