Special Kay

Kay Ryan‘s poems are typically slim, which is not to say they are typically simple. Instead, they delight in irregular rhyme, sly wit and surprising turns of moroseness. For example, here’s her poem “Among English Verbs” in its entirety: “Among English verbs/to die is oddest in its/eagerness to be dead,/ immodest in its/ haste to be told —/a verb alchemical/in the head:/ one speck of its gold/ and a whole life’s lead.” Ryan’s term as U.S. Poet Laureate having recently ended, she reads at Rockhurst University (1100 Rockhurst Road, 816-501-4607) as part of the Midwest Poets Series. The reading begins at 7 p.m. in the Mabee Theater, in Sedgwick Hall; a reception follows. Admission costs $3, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.— Danny Volin

Thu., Jan. 27, 7 p.m., 2011