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Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

As a student at UCLA, Kay Ryan submitted some poems to the college's poetry club, but they were rejected. Ryan says she "leaped away, mortally stung" and afterward "stayed pretty remote from the joining business." How do you suppose those poetry club members felt after Ryan was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States? (Source.)

A "class clown" when she was young, Kay Ryan considered becoming a stand-up comedian but decided that she "didn't really have the iron nerves for it." She remains a big fan of humor. "I do love to hear laughter at a [poetry] reading," she says. "Laughter creates a kind of contact. I hate that atmosphere at a poetry reading where everybody sits there being subtle and sensitive." (Source.)

Kay Ryan is also a fan of cartoons. "I've always been extremely enamored of cartoons and cartooning," she says, "in which you have essentially just the outline, and I think if you leave something empty but charged in some way, not overly elaborated, you can have a surprising number of things come out of people when they read it." (Source.)

Here are some more deep thoughts about cartoons. People often talk about how compressed Ryan's poems are, but she claims that "compression is opposite of what I do." She goes on to explain that "what interests me is so remote and fine that I have to blow it way up cartoonishly just to get it up to visible range. My technique is something like using a hammer to drive a needle through silk." Is your mind blown yet? (Source.)

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