Say Uncle: Poems – by Kay Ryan

Each poem in this book is compressed and compact, say uncleyet deep and resonant. The lines seem almost cropped, so that the thin linear band of text bridges a chasm of empty white paper. Each word seems to be plucked from a world filled with wonder and placed carefully on the white page. The spare succinctness of Kay Ryan’s poems allow us to truly see and savor each word.

Many times the poems start in nature—with the peculiar particularity of a tree, an animal, a change in the weather—and they delve into rich surprises beneath in a few short lines. Other times the seed of the poem opens in the turn of a phrase or a cliché approached in a new way. Rhymes dot the poems with a freedom that follows no stringent pattern. The poet’s love for words is obvious, and language seems supple in her hands. Here’s just a taste:

fallen tree


Too much rain                                                                                                               loosens trees.                                                                                                                         In the hills giant oaks                                                                                                         fall upon their knees.                                                                                                         You can touch parts                                                                                                           you have no right to—                                                                                                   places only birds                                                                                                               should fly to.

2 thoughts on “Say Uncle: Poems – by Kay Ryan

  1. Kortney Garrison

    “The seed of the poem…” Ah!

    Once at a Shakespeare in the Park performance a massive oak split in two and thundered down in among our silence. No one was hurt, but all of us were shaken.

    Liked by 1 person

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