Kay Ryan is a stealthy wit. It took me a few years to be able to read her work because the extreme shortness of the lines had the curious effect of overwhelming me: too much effort, it felt, demanded by too little work, which might in turn not repay the effort of reading. (This was, of course, a silly and shallow way to judge any book’s worth.) Hearing her read on several occasions finally drove me to buy her books and to catch up on her work. In a way, I’m glad I waited, as hers is a poetry not merely of light humor but of mature self-assurance: poetry written for poetry’s sake, not written to satisfy poetic fashion, careerist scrambling, nor narcissistic navel-gazing.