Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Patience Makes Poet Laureate

So by now everyone should have heard that Kay Ryan was chosen as the 16th poet laureate of the United States, following Charles Simic.

What’s striking about Ms. Ryan is that she never set out to be a public poet in the way that many who take on laureateships are expected. Hers is a story that may resonate with many poets here at the Center. At 62, one might say her virtue is perseverance. Ms. Ryan told the Washington Post that it took eight years to get a poem accepted at a serious poetry magazine and 10 more to get into the New Yorker.

Here’s a poem of hers titled “Patience”:

Patience
By Kay Ryan

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time's fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn't be
distinguished
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.

1 comment:

Art said...

Kyle, I too was inspired by Kay Ryan's journey after reading the article in the Post. There's still time for me yet! And Ryan's example has reminded me to appreciate the successes I've had, even if they're more modest than the successes I've envisioned. I'll get there, just have to keep working.

And now, back to my novel. It won't write itself without me.