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Yellow-Green –

July 19, 2022

Chartreuse also known as yellow-green, is a color between yellow and green.

Chartreuse was named after a greenish-yellow French liqueur, originally made by Carthusian monks in the early 1600s.

Primary colors are the most basic colors. You can’t make them by mixing any other colors. 

Orange, green and purple are the secondary colors.

In art class, we learned that the three primary colors are red, yellow and blue. In the world of physics, however, the three primary colors are red, green and blue.

The poet Kay Ryan, with her quizzical and philosophical wit, sets out to make an argument that YELLOW is the most primary of all the primary colours.

Here read for yourself.

Yellow by Kay Ryan

Yellow is the most
primary of the colors,
owing nothing to any
of the others. Many
descendants come back
repentant and sullied
to celebrate yellow’s
anniversary, but yellow
is unapproachable, not
antisocial but not
interested in sitting
at the table with
tainted yolks or
nouveaux chartreuses
or any of the other
abuses of the palette.
Yellow’s indifferent
to blue’s inducements
and despises orange,
red’s bastard coinage.
He’s selfish, yes you
could say he’s selfish:
but it is Spring’s wish
just at this brief
first note before her
fantasia to soft petal
every shade but acacia.

Ryan has said that her poems do not start with imagery or sound, but rather develop “the way an oyster does, with an aggravation.”

In 2008, Ryan was appointed the Library of Congress’s sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Her poems are comments, epigrams, rather than lyric works – they are founded in wisdom, not in song. She wants to make her words of adult wisdom as appealing as the folly they displace, and so she draws on every aural tool compatible with epigram – rhyme, syncopation, reanimated cliche: “The Fabric of Life” “is very stretchy./ We know that, even if/ many details remain/ sketchy.” “One can’t work/ by lime light.” – Stephen Burt

Ryan is also known for her extensive use of internal rhyme. She refers to her specific methods of using internal rhyme as “recombinant rhyme.” She claims that she had a hard time “tak[ing] end-rhyme seriously,” and uses recombinant rhyme to bring structure and form to her work. As for other types of form, Ryan claims that she cannot use them, stating that it is “like wearing the wrong clothes.” –Elisa Rolle.

Carol Adair, who was also an instructor at the College of Marin, was Ryan’s partner from 1978 until Adair’s death in 2009. They were married in a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall in 2004.

Kay Ryan’s work went nearly unrecognized until the mid-1990s, when some of her poems were anthologized and the first reviews in national journals were published.

6 Comments
  1. What a fabulous poem on Yellow. I am partial to purple but yellow is the basis for so many colors. I see where Kay Ryan’s got the idea. Plus yellow does remind of The light.
    I appreciate your sharing. I am familiar with many of the Nobel poets but I must confess that I had not heard of Kay Ryan’s poetry. Thanks for the introduction.

    • The enthusiasm to defend Yellow is overwhelmingly evident. I had to giggle at the attack on blue. I love purple too. One has to admit that the Yellow she defends is gorgeous, stands alone as the yolk.
      I learn about these poets where my ramblings take me.
      Fascinating the form she adheres to; manifesting her body of work.
      Thank you for reading Poet, I appreciate.

  2. Awesome poem, and biographical information, super educational. I agree it the unfolding from an aggravation. That’s brilliant and true. Lovely post, dear Abi. ❤️❤️

    • I’m so happy to read your note Jeff, thank you for visiting my blog, I appreciate ❤❤
      Brilliant, considering how natural pearls are formed. You are most welcome.

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