Erratic Facts

Kay Ryan (Author)

Product Details

$24.00  $22.08
Grove Press
Publish Date
October 06, 2015
5.3 X 0.7 X 8.3 inches | 0.55 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Kay Ryan is a lifetime Californian whose honors include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Humanities Medal. She served two terms as U.S. Poet Laureate and is currently a MacArthur Fellow.



"Erratic Facts shows how poetry can shift a reader's thinking. Ryan's pithy writing moves swiftly . . . demonstrating how the human mind dislikes change, sometimes behaves like a wild animal, yet can be sharpened despite blunt blows. . . . [Ryan] draws from science and art as she journeys through the landscape of memory, consciousness, loss and love. As with all her work, these poems are clear and lucid." --Washington Post

"There is something different about this collection that sets it apart from the seven before it . . . [yet] Ryan is still doing what she has always done, getting at the mechanics and processes and thrills of the mind." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Ryan's tight, crisp writing makes the subject matter fascinating . . . The collection reveals many of the mind's tricks and quirks, such as finding comfort in limitation, not taking action right away, and believing the illusion that things that stay in place are secure or firmly planted . . . she also concludes that love is important and that light can dispel some darkness." --Christian Science Monitor

"It is revitalizing to read Ryan's succinct poems--word columns build like cairns on the otherwise blank and silent wilderness of the page--and experience the precisely walloping impact of her uncommon observations, philosophical realizations, and significant wit. Read a poem once and take in its crisp rhythms, subtle rhymes, and arresting images. Read it again and detect its hide-and-seek metaphors and meanings. . . . [Ryan's] quantum poems pose resonant questions of physics and metaphysics, of attentiveness and caring on scales intimate and universal." --Booklist

"Ryan teases out thoughts with shifting rhyme schemes as her poems display their alluring logic and peculiar practicality . . . each instance Ryan captures and examines reveals the darkness beneath its charming veneer . . . readers make new discoveries and then discover what's been lost." --Publishers Weekly

"A metaphor here, a colloquialism turned on its ear there--[these poems] do what poetry does so well: make us see our world a little differently, force us to think. . . . Erratic Facts reflects a great poet still standing on her peak. The wise, frisky and concise poems . . . reinforce her already stellar reputation." --Shelf Awareness


"Her voice is quizzical and impertinent, funny in uncomfortable ways, scuffed by failure and loss. Her mastery, like Emily Dickinson's, has some awkwardness in it, some essential gawkiness that draws you close . . . you can't help consuming [her] 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." --Dwight Garner, New York Times

"[Ryan's] most startling discovery is that melancholy, with its tendency to brood and spread, is best contained in a form that is tight, witty, almost sprightly sounding. Her poems are often built on the logic of the pun, taking an ordinary word or dead clichΓ© as a title and then jolting it to unexpected life." --Adam Kirsch, New Yorker

"Kay Ryan [is] among the geniuses . . . her clear style puts her in the company of Robert Frost." --Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times

"[Ryan] has the uncanny ability to construct a tiny word-mechanism that produces the experience of genuine wonder." --Steven Ratiner, Washington Post

"If the job of poetry is to distill language and experience, there are few greater contemporary masters of the form than Ryan . . . [Her work] never fails to surprise, enlighten and delight." --Carmela Ciuraru, Newsday