Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan

About Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan is an American poet and educator. Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in the Poetry category for her anthology The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, as of 2011 she had published seven books of poetry. Ryan became the 16th Poet Laureate of the United States in 2010. Ryan was born in San José, California in 1945 and grew up in various cities in the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She studied English at the University of California, Los Angeles and earned a bachelor's in 1967 and master's degree in 1968. She has lived in Marin County, California, since 1971 and taught part-time English at the College of Marin in Kentfield. Her first collection of poetry, Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends, was published in 1983 with the help of friends. In 1985 she released her second collection, Strangely Marked Metal, published by Copper Beech Press, but this time with commercial support. She became more widely known when she received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2004. In 2005 she released her sixth collection, The Niagara River published by Grove Press. In July 2008, the Library of Congress announced that Ryan would be the 16th United States Poet Laureate. She replaced Charles Simic. In April 2009, the library announced that Ryan would be staying for another year, so it wasn't until 2010 that W.S. Merwin was replaced. In 2011 she received a MacArthur Fellowship. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 2017.
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