Who could be more deserving of a MacArthur “Genius” Award than Kay Ryan? (We’ve written about her here and here and here – and my 2004 San Francisco Magazine essay on her, “Let There Be Lightness,” is here.)
Here’s what the New York Times had to say:
“Kay Ryan, 65, a former poet laureate of the United States who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry this year, said the money provided a certain “mental ease,” as she continues to write and to advocate for community colleges, where she has taught remedial English skills for decades.” [For you Bay Area denizens out there, she taught at the College of Marin – ED.]
“I was very, very surprised,” said Ms. Ryan, who lives in Fairfax, Calif. “I had certainly thought I was over the hill. Obviously these people think I’ve got five more good years in me.”
But here’s the other half of the news: A.E. Stallings has also been awarded. I sent my congratulations to both, Alicia via Facebook, Kay by “regular” email. And also a note to Dana Gioia, who has promoted Kay’s work since way back when she was a relatively unknown Marin poet. His reaction? “Great news for two fabulous poets.”
Time to finally get a copy of Alicia’s 2007 verse translation of Lucretius‘s De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things). Yes, I’m that far behind.
Postscript on 9/21: And happy birthday too, Kay!