In Kay Ryan's poem "Spiderweb," the speaker marvels at the labor of web building from a spider's point of view: "hauling coarse/ ropes, hitching/ lines ..." And we might look at Ryan's work the same way — on the page the poems are typically brief, narrow shafts of type that belie the strength of their thinking and the complexity of their structures. She frames her whippet-lean images to lead us to some epiphany — always true and seldom easy. As she writes in the end of the poem, "It/ isn't ever/ delicate/ to live."
Hear the two-term Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of MacArthur, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts grants read her work at Humboldt State University's Kate Buchanan Room on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. (free). Expect wit and wonder (one of her books is inspired by Ripley's Believe It or Not!) and not a whit of preciousness in poems about how life marks us and the marks we leave upon the world and each other.