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Reading Series Welcomes Michael Ryan

Nationally Lauded Poet, Essayist to Read Work at UC Riverside

Creative Writing Department Reading Series Welcomes Michael Ryan

(October 14, 2004)

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Poet and essayist Michael Ryan will read from his work Tuesday, Oct. 19, at UC Riverside as the first guest of the Creative Writing Department’s 2004-2005 Reading Series. The reading is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Humanities and Social Sciences 1500.

Ryan, a professor of English and creative writing at UC Irvine, has two new books out: A memoir, “Baby B,” which was excerpted in The New Yorker, and “New and Selected Poems,” his first poetry collection in 15 years.

Ryan’ poems often are vignettes from everyday life, small stories studded with pop culture references and personal revelations. Still, “A ravenous spiritual hunger drives Ryan’s best work,” according to a review of “New and Selected Poems” in the Washington Post. The review quotes from “God Hunger,” the title poem from an earlier anthology, which is also part of the new collection.

“When the innumerable accidents of birth --
parentage, hometown, all the rest --
no longer anchor this fiction of the self
and its incessant I me mine,
then words won't be like nerves in a stump
crackling with messages that end up nowhere,
and I'll put on the wind like a gown of light linen
and go be a king in a field of weeds.”

Ryan's first book of poems, “Threats Instead Of Trees,” won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and was a National Book Award finalist in 1974. His second book, “In Winter,” was a National Poetry Series selection in 1981 and his third book, “God Hunger,” won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1990.

His poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The Nation, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, The New Yorker and many other magazines and anthologies over the last thirty years.

In 1995 he published an autobiography, “Secret Life,” and in 2000 a collection of essays about poetry and writing, “A Difficult Grace.” Among many other distinctions for his work are a Whiting Writers Award, NEA and Guggenheim fellowships and awards from The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review and the Poetry Society of America.

The reading is free and open to the public. Parking on campus costs $6. Ryan's books will be available for sale at the reading, courtesy of Imagine That bookstore in Riverside.

The Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside offers the only Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing in the University of California system and also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. It is a growing and dynamic program made up entirely of established writers and poets.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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