by Tim Gilmore, 6/18/2012
“We had dinner with the poet laureate. The restaurant did not have bread. There were bread plates on the table. The poet’s work is known for its brevity. I asked her how she felt about Walt Whitman. In the house of poetry, she said, are many mansions. The restaurant offered Scotch, crème brûlée, but the restaurant did not have bread.
“We had dinner with the poet laureate. There were years and years, she said, when very few magazines accepted any of her poems. Publishing poems depends maybe on whether the poems are good, she said, but also on chance. The chances of Kay Ryan having become the poet laureate were next to nothing. The restaurant did not have bread. What it always comes down to, she said, is that you write because you have to write.
“She had asked the concierge about the best place to see birds in the area. The concierge was confused. She did not understand the question.
“Though the restaurant did not have bread, we had dinner with the poet laureate.”