Kay Ryan is a poet and educator. Born in San Jose, California, she received bachelors and masters degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her first collection, Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends, was privately published in 1983. Ryan found a commercial publisher for her second collection, Strangely Marked Metal, but her work went nearly unrecognized until the mid 1990s, when some of her poems were anthologized and the first reviews appeared in national journals. She received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2004, and published her sixth collection of poetry, The Niagara River. Ryan's other awards include the 2001 Maurice English Poetry Award, a fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her poems have been included in three Pushcart Prize anthologies and have been selected four times for The Best American Poetry. Ryan's collection The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. She was awarded Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for this collection. Ryan was named the 16th Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and served 2 terms from 2008 to 2010. She currently serves as one of Chancellors of The Academy of American Poets.