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Odd Blocks

Selected and New Poems

Kay Ryan

Odd Blocks by Kay Ryan
RRP: GBP£ 12.95
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Price: GBP£ 11.65
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847771 30 8
Categories: American, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2011
216 x 135 x 13 mm
160 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Flamingo Watching

    Wherever the flamingo goes,
    she brings a city's worth
    of furbelows. She seems
    unnatural by nature -
    too vivid and peculiar
    a structure to be pretty,
    and flexible to the point
    of oddity. Perched on
    those legs, anything she does
    seems like an act. Descending
    on her egg or draping her head
    along her back, she's
    too exact and sinuous
    to convince an audience
    she's serious. The natural elect,
    they think, would be less pink,
    less able to relax their necks,
    less flamboyant in general.
    They privately expect that it's some
    poorly jointed bland grey animal
    with mitts for hands
    whom God protects.
    In Odd Blocks Kay Ryan, the acclaimed American poet, presents her work to European readers for the first time. The book includes twenty-one new poems, seven of them first published here. Ryan’s flamboyant imagination sparks in spare and elegant verse. ‘Edges,’ she has said, ‘are the most powerful parts of the poem. The more edges you have the more power you have.’ These poems take by surprise, and increase in resonance.

    Cover photograph David Goldes Platonic Solids # 2, 2002. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist.


    Contents

    from Flamingo Watching (1994)
    Flamingo Watching
    This Life
    Emptiness
    Vacation
    No Rest for the Idle
    Glass Slippers
    When Fishing Fails
    So Different
    Half a Loaf
    Spring
    Impersonal
    I Marveled at How Generally I Was Aided
    Force
    Miners’ Canaries
    The Hinge of Spring
    Deer
    Poetry Is a Kind of Money
    Masterworks of Ming
    Paired Things
    Osprey
    Turtle
     
    from Elephant Rocks (1996)
    Living with Stripes
    Doubt
    Mirage Oases
    Chemistry
    Dew
    Crib
    Bestiary
    How Birds Sing
    If the Moon Happened Once
    New Clothes
    Crustacean Island
    Les Petites Confitures
    Why Isn’t It All More Marked
    Learning
    Age
    Counsel
    Silence
    A Cat/A Future
    Hope
    Losses
    The Cabinet of Curiosities
    Her Politeness
    Swept Up Whole
    Any Morning
    Relief
    A Plain Ordinary Steel Needle Can Float on Pure Water
    Distance
    Wooden
    Heat

    from Say Uncle (2000)
    Say Uncle
    Star Block
    Corners
    A Hundred Bolts of Satin
    The Excluded Animals
    Mockingbird
    Blandeur
    Patience
    That Will to Divest
    Winter Fear
    Grazing Horses
    The Fourth Wise Man
    Help
    The Pieces that Fall to Earth
    Don’t Look Back
    It’s Always Darkest Just Before the Dawn
    Herring
    The Silence Islands
    Cheshire
    Yeses
    Crown
    Among English Verbs
    Lime Light
    Why We Must Struggle
    Drops in the Bucket
    The Job
    Failure
    Failure 2
    Matrigupta
    Water under the Bridge
     
    from The Niagara River (2005)
    The Niagara River
    Home to Roost
    Carrying a Ladder
    Sharks’ Teeth
    Weak Forces
    The Elephant in the Room
    A Ball Rolls on a Point
    The Best of It
    Shipwreck
    The Other Shoe
    Atlas
    He Lit a Fire with Icicles
    Rats’ Tails
    Chop
    Felix Crow
    Desert Reservoirs
    Expectations
    Ideal Audience
    Stardust
    Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard
    The Past
    Reverse Drama
    Least Action
    Chart
    No Names
    Thieves
    Late Justice
    Lighthouse Keeping
    Tune

    New Poems
    Odd Blocks
    The Edges of Time
    Bait Goat
    Train-Track Figure
    Virga
    Dogleg
    Ledge
    The Pharaohs
    Pentimenti
    Bitter Pill
    Finish
    Easter Island
    Spiderweb
    Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose
    Monk Style
    On the Nature of Understanding
    The Main Difficulty of Water Wheels
    Splitting Ice
    Shoot the Moon
    More of the Same
    The First of Never
     

    Index of Titles


    Kay Ryan was born in California and has lived in Marin County, California, since 1971. She has received numerous awards for her poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, fellowships from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Award. She ... read more
    'Her poems are exhilarating, strange affairs, like Satie miniatures or Cornell boxes. […] Her sceptical imagination is pungent, her control masterful.'
    J.D. McClatchy, The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry
    'Kay Ryan works toward an exciting art, much less sparse than it looks. This is natural history seen from an angle of vision that Emerson and Dickinson would have approved. It refreshes me to find poems that require and reward rereading as much as these do.'
    Harold Bloom
    'These are fine poems that inspire us with poetry’s greatest gifts: the music of language and the force of wisdom.'
    Annie Dillard
    'You can'€™t help consuming Kay Ryan'€™s poems quickly, the way you are supposed to consume freshly made cocktails: while they are still smiling at you. But you immediately double back -- what was that? --€“ and their moral and intellectual bite blindsides you.'
    The New York Times
    Praise for Kay Ryan   'Kay Ryan works toward an exciting art, much less sparse than it looks. This is natural history seen from an angle of vision that Emerson and Dickinson would have approved. It refreshes me to find poems that require and reward rereading as much as these do.'
    Harold Bloom
      'You can't help consuming Kay Ryan's poems quickly, the way you are supposed to consume freshly made cocktails: while they are still smiling at you. But you immediately double back - what was that? - and their moral and intellectual bite blindsides you.'
    The New York Times
      'Her poems are exhilarating, strange affairs, like Satie miniatures or Cornell boxes... Her sceptical imagination is pungent, her control masterful.'
    J.D. McClatchy, The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry
     'These are fine poems that inspire us with poetry's greatest gifts: the music of language and the force of wisdom.'
    Annie Dillard

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