The Niagara River by Kay Ryan
Poems (Grove Press Poetry)

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Salon compared the poems in Kay Ryan’s last collection to “Fabergé eggs, tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder.” The Niagara River contains similarly hidden gems. Intense and relaxed, buoy­ant and rueful, the singular music of this poetry appeals to many people. Her poems, products of an immaculately off-kilter mind, have appeared everywhere from the Sunday funnies to New York subways to the pages of The New Yorker to plaques at the zoo. As J. D. McClatchy declared in American Poet, “she is an anomaly in today’s literary culture: as intense and elliptical as Dickinson, as buoy­ant and rueful as Frost.”

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. 97 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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As a group of friends float toward the inevitable falls, the Niagara River becomes a metaphor for arrogance in the face of greater forces: "we do/ know this is the/ Niagara River, but/ it is hard to remember/ what that means."

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