‘Poetry Reading by Kay Ryan’

December 3, 2011

Some events leave you with good feelings for days afterwards. Obviously the deposit of the final paper sculpture – by someone the Guardian brilliantly called ‘Booksy’ and NPR’s sympathetic columnist ‘The Library Phantom’ – is one such event, and that good feeling has been shared globally. Others are more local, such as the visit from a group of bouncy nursery-school children, who were magically stilled as they heard the opening words of The Gruffalo (and that rhyming story is a global phenomenon, in fact); or going out to a care home and seeing the magic of rhyme working with older folk, too – who carry poems in their heads after other things have faded.

We‘re still living in the after-glow of Kay Ryan’s reading. With the help of the Poetry Trust, the US Embassy in London and the Poetry Association of Scotland, we brought Kay – former US Poet Laureate – to Edinburgh for a reading last month, and her first visit to Scotland. There was a capacity house at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, to hear a reading that combined insight, elegance, charm and surprise in equal measures.

As a reusable alternative to tickets, our friends at the Scottish Storytelling Centre gave us a box of 99 tokens to hand out, which were red on one side and yellow on the other. It was an inspiring and enjoyable evening – so much so that Stewart Conn wrote the poem below.

Poetry Reading by Kay Ryan

We trouped downstairs,

each eagerly clutching

a plastic disc, red on one

side, yellow on the other,

vouching we had paid

and giving right of entry –

to emerge what seemed

moments later, having

exchanged it for a gold coin.

One Response to “‘Poetry Reading by Kay Ryan’”


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