The Library of Congress appointed lesbian poet Kay Ryan as the country’s 16th poet laureate on July 24. Ryan succeeds Charles Simic as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The 62-year-old poet’s reign will run from this October to May of 2009.
Ryan lives in Fairfax, California with her partner of 30 years, Carol Adair. She has spent the last 30 years teaching remedial English at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California. She has received a number of awards during her tenure, including The Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the San Francisco Commonwealth Club’s Gold Medal for poetry.
According to the Library of Congress’s website, “the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.”
Ryan will receive a $35,000 stipend, and her duties will include a national tour of public readings in between working on her own projects.