I, for one, welcome our new Poet Overlord

We have a new Poet Laureate of the United States: Kay Ryan. Bay Area resident, openly gay, writes "accessible" poetry. Anyone read her stuff? Is this a good thing? Do poets laureate matter?


HGF said...

Did Simic do anything? Technically, a laureate doesn't have to do much, but I didn't hear a thing about Simic. In fact, of other laureates this decade, the only one whose efforts registered on my radar was Collins, who used his tenure to do a lot of popularizing: poem-a-day stuff, etc. I believe he raised poetry's profile some. Sadly, I've never met a poet who liked Collins' work. I don't know about Kooser, but I suspect he was active, too, just not in a newsworthy way.

The Library of Congress site describes the requirements and pay this way:

"The Laureate receives a $35,000 annual stipend funded by a gift from Archer M. Huntington. The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties in order to afford incumbents maximum freedom to work on their own projects while at the Library. The Laureate gives an annual lecture and reading of his or her poetry and usually introduces poets in the Library's annual poetry series, the oldest in the Washington area, and among the oldest in the United States."

Grendel said...

She's also gaily married.

kclou said...

She's in the New Yorker a lot, which probably makes her one of the most widely-read poets. She's not one of my favorites, but I don't think poet laureates matter too much.

Billy Collins definitely got his name in the news like hgf said. Robert Pinsky, too.

Pete said...

35K? Monica Goodling probably made (makes?) twice that.