PDF Erratic Facts


Ssensing changesin your hair and nails So it sstrange when itattacks you thoughtyou had a dealThat too seems to capture a truth I d almost already known I have that sense of getting locked within myself in the midst of a new project a new attempt at understanding Just because I set myself the task of coming to understand a thing it doesn t mean that I will succeed Ryan reminds me that understanding has to be a conversation a dialogue and one of the great potential rrors is to assume that which the other is sayingI can t help having read this in the context of another book I picked up at the MLA Lee McIntyre s Post Truth a study of the way we have reached a point of such contested sense about what it means for something to be true in Trump s America I see here a playful response to that uncertainty Read within the moment Ryan is showing how the mind pushes toward knowledge and then pulls away nearly as fast The title poem isn t one of my particular favorites but its title suggests just that point we necessarily perceive the world with xpectations but those xpectations in their rratic #application to the world as it is often lead us into rrorShe gets at that same #to the world as it is often lead us into En plein coeur errorShe gets at that same of one hand clapping insight with anxcerpt from Trench Like That The uestionis doesthe sea goexactly backafter a shippasses Isa trench likethat an ventor notThat image simply works for me I ve often wondered at the strangeness of doing a thing that leaves no trace something I did just yesterday when an hour of shoveling snow seemed to matter not at all to the additional half inch that had fallen behind me as I worked I feel Ryan posing a uestion and I feel compelled to answer it ven as I know I can tOther favorites include Token Loss All Your Horses and Why Explain the Precise By Way of the Less Precise I m going to stick this one on the shelf and given the bite sized conundrums it offers so widely I Dance Real Slow expect I ll pull it down againvery so often It s trite to compare Ryan s work to physical craft but it s still like little carvings with intricate details you don t always notice the first time around These poems feel like she s completely mastered her style chock full of inimitable internal rhymes and deployed it in s completely mastered her style chock full of inimitable internal rhymes and deployed it in service of The Art of Memoir explicating loss a theme that s appeared in her work before but never to thisxtent Ryan s a pretty private writer in a lot of ways yet this collection is intensely personal The Day Christ Was Born: The True Account of the First 24 Hours of Jesus's Life especially near thend It s a powerful piece of carpentry that tries to carve something out of an impossible subject Highlights Fizz Fool s Errands Venice Almost Ryan s an original but as I was reading this I kept thinking about why I ASSOCIATE HER OFTEN WITH DICKINSON BOTH her often with Dickinson both very succinct poems and have a strong penchant for assertive declarative sentences that can sound like homilies But really their similarities nd right about there Dickinson is much dramatic I felt a funeral in my brain or Dare you see the soul at the white heat I can t imagine such drama from Ryan Ryan is decidedly much at a remove in her poems almost clinical making her homilies much homel. Playful and heartfelt Ryan xamines normous subjects xistence consciousness love loss in compact poems that have immensely powerful resonance Sly rhymes and strong cadences lend remarkable musicality to her incisive wisdom While these pieces are composed of the same brevity and vitality tha. I like Ryan s haiku sue sensibility her poems are longer than haiku but she uses consistently short line lengths and internal #rhymes to achieve a haiku s sense of breath brief transience structure and formal discipline #to achieve a haiku s sense of breath brief transience structure and formal discipline you haven t read Ryan before you might wonder whether her use of the same formal constraints again and again gets boring over time but strangely it doesn t no than Basho s repeated use of the 5 7 5 form doesIn poems so short so xposed it d be difficult to hide any fact fudging any unearned pretension poems shaped like these s Given her short poems her work is something asily readable in a few days OR LESSALONG WITH RICHARD WILBUR I CONSIDER HER THE lessAlong with Richard Wilbur I consider her the American poet writing today The short pithy nature of the poems understate their immense intellect wit power and beauty A joy to read but I must admit I found this book not up to what I njoyed in her previous collections Her best work in my opinion were the poems in Say Uncle and The Niagara River I stumbled across this collection at the MLA and I picked it up because the first several poems simply grabbed me I ve been challenging myself to read collections of poetry so that s something I sometimes do pick up a volume and see if it talks to me As a result I don t read any poetry that I don t already like a lot There s so much of it in the world that it seems silly to spend time on something that doesn t talk to youI d never heard of Kay Ryan but as it turns out I m hardly making some deep discovery She s won a Pulitzer and been the US Poet Laureate so there s really nowhere up to go from there That s the nature of 21st Century American poetry I guess The Taste of Night (Signs of the Zodiac, even the stars are obscure That makes the broad acknowledgement of Mary Oliver s death so startling most of us simply don t know our poetsRyan s poems are all short She works with a line length well less than a breath and her work has a zen koan uality to it She boils her insights down to such anssence that we ve swallowed them whole before we uite realize it There s a meditative uality in the work but there s also a lot of humor She s taking her ideas and her poetry seriously but she doesn t seem to be taking the idea of poetry too seriously Most of my favorites are the very first ones Consider for instance New Rooms The mind mustset itself upwherever it goesand it would bemost convenientto impose itsold rooms justtack them uplike an interior tent Oh butthe new holesaren t wherethe windows wentI love the brevity of this one but I love as well the way it lingers I think that feeling the sense that after a major change in my life or world I want to get back to a familiar rhythm Instead as she says the new holes aren t where the windows went That tight slanted truth seems almost worthy of Emily Dickinson a truth that we recognize as truth only after she says it Another that prompted me to pick this up is On The Nature of Understanding Say you hoped totame somethingwild and stayedcalm and inched upday by day Or vennot tame it butmeet it half wayThings went alongYou made progressunderstandingit would be alengthy proces. Kay Ryan a classic American poet John Freeman is acclaimed for her highly intelligible deeply insightful poems Erratic Facts is her first new collection since the Pulitzer Prize winning The Best of It and it is animated with her signature swift lucid lyrical styleAt once witty and melancholy. Y At her best she s very wise but #understated at her worst she s wise guy than wise But all in all I really njoy almost anything #at her worst she s wise guy than wise But all in all I really njoy almost anything writes she s thinking deeply but not in an ostentatious theory meets poetry type of way that usually gets the lion s share of critical attention Who lse can come up with a uiet profound little gem like the following The First of Never by Kay RyanNever dawnsas thoughit were a dayand risesOur day sensesays a daycan be out waitedSo we waitThat s theonly kindof timewe ve The Road From Home: The Story Of An Armenian Girl ever knownit should begetting late she should begetting home Good stuff Now that I ve read it all once I m set to go through and read these poems over and over Maybe I ll memorize some I bet they ll be fun to recite to myself and supposedly it s good for the old brain to get that kind ofxercise Anyway Kay Ryan is great and I m glad I came across this on the featured poetry shelf in the Worthington Public Library Kay Ryan is a poet like no other Her seemingly simple short "Poems Are Small Mechanisms "are small mechanisms grace and pith She makes me want to be a better poet Still StartAs if Exile and Pilgrim engineparts could bewrenched outat random andthe car wouldstill start andsoundvenhearts can gowith chambersbroken open I just didn t connect with these poems shrugs I really wasn t a fan of most of these poems but I like this oneAs if ngine parts could be wrenched out at random and the car would still start and sound ven hearts can go with chambers broken open I m on record as being a fan of minimalist poetry Just desserts here Kay Ryan is a minimalist s minimalist And she packs a Pulitzer to boot and as we all know THOSE boots are made for walking Like Twiggy Ryan s poems are short thin affairs with lines typically Hannah Montana: The Movie expiring after two or three most four words Pithy Almost cute With a twist like certain drinks If you re thinking one trick pony I ain t saying a wordStill clever is as clever does I can share a few poems that gave me somenjoyment of a sort Ready set here you goShip in a BottleIt seemsimpossible not just aship in abottle butwind and seaThe ship startsto struggle anemergency of thetoo realized werealize We canget it out butnot withoutspilling its worldA hammer tapand they re freeWhich deathwill it belittle sailorsYes going on than meets the ye which I suppose is KR s hallmark And lucky her no one ven cares that her line breaks come on articles and conjunctions that are about as important as me En autreToken LossTo the dragonany loss istotal His restis disruptedif a singlejewel ncrustedgoblet hasbeen stolenThe circle of himselfin the nestof his goldhas beenbroken Noloss is tokenWhat You want Musical ChairsOnly the one ismusical actuallythe others areordinary mostlyfrom the kitchenNot a peep ofmusic out of themas they are takenfrom rotation Mumchairs tunelessracks dumbsticksnext to theescalating operaticravishmentsof banishmentsung to the childrenby the one chairabsentAs you might imagine 63 pages of that goes uickly But I found myself browsing in other books to break it up and I think Kay owes me thanks for that Her small work is better in small doses. T has characterized her singular voice over the course of than 20 years her mind is sharper than ver her imagination ccentric and daring Erratic Facts solidifies Ryan’s place at the pinnacle of American poetry and proves that she will remain among the leading innovators in literary histor. ,


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Erratic Facts