Kay Ryan

Photo: Christina Koci Hernandez

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The Individualist:
Kay Ryan

The author of the 2005 poetry collection The Niagara River is the 16th Poet Laureate of the United States.

"I remember lying in bed as a young teenager and deciding to hypnotize myself by saying these words: 'Be what you are, be what you are, be what you are.' I said it hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times, the intention being to protect me from what I felt was going to take me away from myself. And to this day I still say that when I think I'm trying to fit somebody else's expectations."

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