Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Say Uncle

by Kay Ryan

“A poetry collection that marries wit and wisdom more brilliantly than any I know. . . . Poetry as statement and aphorism is rarely heartbreaking, but reading these poems I find myself continually ambushed by a fundamental sorrow, one that hides behind a surface that interweaves sound and sense in immaculately interesting ways.” —Jane Hirshfield, Common Boundary

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 96
  • Publication Date September 20, 2000
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3717-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $14.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date December 01, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9749-8
  • US List Price $14.00

About The Book

Filled with wry logic and a magical, unpredictable musicality, Kay Ryan’s poems continue to generate excitement with their frequent appearances in The New Yorker and other leading periodicals. Say Uncle, Ryan’s fifth collection, is filled with the same hidden connections, the same slyness and almost gleeful detachment that has delighted readers of her earlier books.

Compact, searching, and oddly beautiful, these poems, in the words of Dana Gioia, “take the shape of an idea clarifying itself.”

Praise

“The first thing you notice about her poems is an elbow-to-the-ribs playfulness.” —Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle

“A poetry collection that marries wit and wisdom more brilliantly than any I know. . . . Poetry as statement and aphorism is rarely heartbreaking, but reading these poems I find myself continually ambushed by a fundamental sorrow, one that hides behind a surface that interweaves sound and sense in immaculately interesting ways.” —Jane Hirshfield, Common Boundary

Excerpt

Say Uncle

Every day
you say,
Just one
more try
.
Then another
irrecoverable
day slips by.
You will
say ankle,
you will
say knuckle;
why won’t
you why
won’t you
say uncle?

Corners

All but saints
and hermits
mean to paint
themselves
toward an exit

leaving a
pleasant ocean
of azure or jonquil
ending neatly
at the doorsill.

But sometimes
something happens:

a minor dislocation
by which the doors
and windows
undergo a
small rotation
to the left a little

—but repeatedly.
It isn’t
obvious immediately.

Only toward evening
and from the
farthest corners
of the houses
of the painters

comes a chorus
of individual keening
as of kenneled dogs
someone is mistreating.