... I had the pleasure of meeting Kay Ryan this morning after a panel in which April Lindner, Chelsea Rathburn and I discussed "The Achievement of Kay Ryan" (I'll see what I can do about posting my remarks online when I get back to the office).
Kay turns out to be pretty much the person you encounter in the poems - sly, wry and unpretentious. There is nothing phony about her. She was genuinely appreciative of what we had to say - and it was surprising at how similar what we had to say was, though Chelsea's comments were especially powerful because she very courageously related her reading the poems to a very bad passage in her own life. If anyone in the audience had doubts that poetry has serious practical uses would have had those doubts dispeled by what Chelsea had to say.
So what was it we had to say? Well, we all felt that Kay was one of those poets that you feel especially close to in a very personal way after you read her work. Reading her is more than just a literary experience. Kay was appreciative because, as she told me, that's the thing- the personal connection - that she is often unsure of about her poetry. She knows now she needn't worry.
I took some pictures of downtown West Chester, including a shot of the house where composer Samuel Barber grew up. I'll be posting them - and others - when I get back.
As must be obvious, I have been too busy to do much blogging. Tomorrow morning I'm conducting a workshop on reviewing poetry.