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AVC grad to receive Pulitzer Prize for poetry

Antelope Valley College graduate Kay Ryan was named Monday as a recipient of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

The 95th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board, were announced by Columbia University. The awards, named for the late newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, will be presented at Columbia University next month.

Ryan (nee Pedersen) is a 1963 graduate of Antelope Valley High School who went to Antelope Valley College to pursue her Associate in Arts degree.

It was during Ryan’s two years attending AVC (1963-65) that she was introduced to poetry that was to influence her writing. She continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

She went on to become an English instructor at a community college, College of Marin, and wrote several books of poetry.

Ryan was named as the nation’s 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2008, joining a list of distinguished poets who have served in the position.

During two one-year terms as Poet Laureate, Ryan sought to create an appreciation for poetry as well as pay tribute to the work being done through the nation’s community colleges.

She returned to AVC in December 2009 to conduct a reading of her works.

The Pulitzer Prize Board selected Ryan’s “The Best of It: New and Selected Poems,” for the award. Ryan’s book was described as “a body of work spanning 45 years, witty, rebellious and yet tender, a treasure trove of an iconoclastic and joyful mind.”

The Pulitzer Prize for poetry is awarded to “a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author” and carries with it a $10,000 prize.

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