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Ryan’s finesse in Erratic Facts floored me. Using short, simple language, she upends the entire world to better view just one small piece of life with startling clarity. Extraordinary wisdom; no artifice. Ryan leaps effortlessly between joyful and sad, creating something ethereal that spans the human condition. The resulting poetry is both profound and fleeting—“as though constellations/ fretted something/ to existence” to “produce brief real things/ in real places.” I was stricken.
This will be the poetry book I read most over the next month. It is about things removed from where they began-- like a tribute to change, and to survival. Each poem is brief, excessively clever, and beautiful. I have more sticky notes in this collection than in any other, because I have marked almost every poem with the specific situation in which it should be read.
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 style.
At once witty and melancholy, playful and heartfelt, Ryan examines enormous subjects--existence, 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 that has characterized her singular voice over the course of more than 20 years, her mind is sharper than ever, her imagination more eccentric 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 history.