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Literary late-bloomers

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Of course we all know that if at first you don't succeed you're supposed to try, try again, but frankly I don't know how most authors stand the rejection.

For those who can, however, sometimes persistence pays off. The announcement last week that Kay Ryan was being made poet laureate is one such example. Ryan, who was rejected from poetry club when she was a student at UCLA, has had to wait most of her life to get the recognition her supporters insist that she has always deserved. But she has it now.

Next week the Monitor will be reviewing the first full-length publication of another poet's work. That's Mimi White, whose book "The Last Island" appears in her 60th year. Like Ryan, White has had readers who believed in her all along (and she did serve as poet laureate of Portsmouth, N.H.) But this first book has been a long time coming.

And it's not just poets. Ron McLarty, author of "Art in America," the novel featured in today's Monitor review, is also 60 and has enjoyed a long career as an actor. But as a novelist he had a much tougher time. In fact he couldn't find a publisher for his first novel "The Memory of Running." Then, one day, author Stephen King happened upon an audio version of the book and publicly praised it as "the best book you can't read."

From there, "The Memory of Running" was picked up by Viking Press and went on to become a bestseller. It may not happen often, but once in a while those literary ships really do come in.


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