Kay Ryan


Yellow is the most

primary of colours,

owing nothing to any

of the others. Many

descendants come back

repentant and sullied

to celebrate yellow’s

anniversary, but yellow

is unapproachable, not

antisocial but not

interested in sitting

at the table with

tainted yolks or

nouveaux chartreuses

or any of the other

abuses of the palette…

My Paris Review Daily Poem delivered me this treat from Kay Ryan, one of my favourite poets. Here’s the whole poem  https://www.theparisreview.org/poetry/2686/yellow-kay-ryan

Ryan, who was Poet Laureate from 2008-2110 and is a Pulitzer Prize winner, actually has a life outside the poetry industry. She  has taught  remedial English at a community college  for more than 30 years. Her poems have been described as “compact, exhilarating, strange affairs”.  Here are a couple of  favourites:

The Best Of It

However carved up
or pared down we get,
we keep on making
the best of it as though
it doesn’t matter that
our acre’s down to
a square foot. As
though our garden
could be one bean
and we’d rejoice if
it flourishes, as
though one bean
could nourish us.

 Bitter Pill

A bitter pill
doesn’t need
to be swallowed
to work. Just
reading your name
on the bottle
does the trick.

There are lots more at poetryfoundation.org

5 thoughts on “Kay Ryan

  1. How beautifully she expresses the inexpressible.
    The Best of It strikes wonderful note of ordinary courage very much in the spirit of Ulysses, Tennysons poem and so apt for us at this time and for all the times we need an extra push.

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