“However carved up or pared down we get, we keep on making the best of it…”

RyanJPGAn extra punch — which distinguishes the extraordinary poetry of Kay Ryan — hits us in the title poem in this collection, “The Best of It.” At first, it seems that she’s telling us to make do, but then the poem gets darker, and then we realize that she’s saying the opposite: that people just pretend to make the best of it. After that realization sinks in, we see that the title for the book has a double meaning. It’s the best of her work, and readers will have to make the best of it. A little humor, perhaps?

Kay Ryan, The Best of It (New York: Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 2010), 175.

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