Kay Ryan named U.S. poet laureate

July 17, 2008 at 9:32 AM

WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named Kay Ryan as the library's 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-09.

Ryan, a 63-year-old California native, is to begin her duties in the fall, opening the library's annual literary series Oct. 16 with a reading of her work.

She also will be a featured guest at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in the Poetry pavilion Sept. 27 on the National Mall in Washington, Billington said.

Ryan succeeds Charles Simic as Poet Laureate. Poets Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Gluck, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove have also held the position.

"Kay Ryan is a distinctive and original voice within the rich variety of contemporary American poetry," Billington said in a statement Thursday. "She writes easily understandable short poems on improbable subjects. Within her compact compositions there are many surprises in rhyme and rhythm and in sly wit pointing to subtle wisdom."

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