Say Uncle by Kay Ryan

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Filled with wry logic and a magical, unpredictable musicality, Kay Ryan's poems continue to generate excitement with their frequent appearances in The New Yorker and other leading periodicals. Say Uncle, Ryan's fifth collection, is filled with the same hidden connections, the same slyness and almost gleeful detachment that has delighted readers of her earlier books. Compact, searching, and oddly beautiful, these poems, in the words of Dana Gioia, "take the shape of an idea clarifying itself." "A poetry collection that marries wit and wisdom more brilliantly than any I know.... Poetry as statement and aphorism is rarely heartbreaking, but reading these poems I find myself continually ambushed by a fundamental sorrow, one that hides behind a surface that interweaves sound and sense in immaculately interesting ways." -- Jane Hirshfield, Common Boundary; "The first thing you notice about her poems is an elbow-to-the-ribs playfulness." -- Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle.

About Kay Ryan

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Kay Ryan is a poet and educator. Born in San Jose, California, she received bachelors and masters degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her first collection, Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends, was privately published in 1983. Ryan found a commercial publisher for her second collection, Strangely Marked Metal, but her work went nearly unrecognized until the mid 1990s, when some of her poems were anthologized and the first reviews appeared in national journals. She received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2004, and published her sixth collection of poetry, The Niagara River. Ryan's other awards include the 2001 Maurice English Poetry Award, a fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her poems have been included in three Pushcart Prize anthologies and have been selected four times for The Best American Poetry. Ryan's collection The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. She was awarded Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for this collection. Ryan was named the 16th Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and served 2 terms from 2008 to 2010. She currently serves as one of Chancellors of The Academy of American Poets.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 92 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ryan puts them together, then pulls them apart, and twists them in playful fashion, as though she were an alchemist with a modern experimental attitude: I wonder what’ll happen if I mix these two.

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Publishers Weekly

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Witty, charming, serious and delightful, Ryan's fifth book of poems is also remarkably specialized. Beginning from single observations or sayings or from single facts of science or folklore, the poems

Aug 07 2000 | Read Full Review of Say Uncle: Poems

Publishers Weekly

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""The Old Cosmologists,"" Ryan explains, act ""as if change were not/ something that just happens/ at certain stages/ but a private test failed/ moment by moment/ as age is."" If that judgment is ambiguous, ""The Pass"" is not: ""Things test you./ You are part of/ the Donners or/ part of the resc...

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