The 16th U. S. Poet Laureate grew up in small towns in the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert, where her father dug oil wells. But her vision extended far beyond her rural home and deep into the heart of what it means to be alive. Ryan, the 2010 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, uses irony and humor to unravel the idiosyncrasies of the human experience through “recombinant rhyme”–full and partially rhyming words that appear unexpectedly throughout her poems, rather than regularly at the ends of lines. The one-time Antelope Valley College student, who later transferred to UCLA, has stayed close to her modest upbringing, using her appointment as poet laureate to champion colleges and teaching remedial English at a community college in Northern California for four decades. She has given several readings at UCLA over the years, including at the Hammer Museum.