'Vs.' is a collection of poems chronicling the author's foray into the world of amateur boxing. A shy, bookish woman you'd never expect could hit someone in the face, Ryan was soon hooked on the physical and mental challenge of the sport, as well as the camaraderie of the club's members and volunteers. When the club announced an upcoming white collar fight-an opportunity for novices to participate in an actual bout-she nervously decided to test her mettle. The writing of these poems became a way to process what she was learning in the ring as well as a method of exploration around her decision to participate in the fight. The poems explore her reasons for taking on the challenge, the way the sport changed her perceptions of herself and her capabilities, and how her relationship with her husband factored into the adventure. 'Vs.' is part instruction manual, part rationalization. Throughout the collection the author reflects on what it means to be a woman and a fighter, as wellas a poet and a fighter. But, ultimately, 'Vs.' is about the fights we all face: brain vs. body, intention vs. action, perceptions vs. identity, and who we are vs. who we want to be.
"The poems in Kerry Ryan's 'Vs.' come at you like quick jabs of light the writing is taut, worked over, sinewy, spare, and lean but never mean. A delightful collection. What else can be said? These poems pack a punch." Jeanette Lynes, Author, 'The New Blue Distance'
"Muhammad Ali, keep your guard up. You're being measured by a better boxing poet. Kerry Ryan has the clarity of vision that comes with a boxer's discipline and daring, the grace of a true poet's music of body and mind made one." Robert Kroetsch, Author, 'Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait'
Winner of the Acorn-Plantos Award
About the author
Kerry Ryan lives and writes in Winnipeg. her first collection of poetry, The Sleeping Life, was published by The Muse's Company in 2008 and nominated for the Aqua Landsdowne Prize for Poetry in 2009. She has had poetry published in a number of journals, including Prairie Fire, Grain, and Carousel. Poems from the manuscript Vs. are forthcoming in Room and CV2.