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Whale Day: And Other Poems (Hardcover)

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A number of years ago (before the advent of smartphones), my partner's brother stayed overnight at his apartment. The brother confidently had not brought anything to read and went to bed, knowing there was a big bookcase in there. What he did not know was that my partner  had filled the whole bookcase with poetry, something most people no longer seem to read much. Since then, the new guest bedroom bookcase holds books of essays and humor, trivia and profiles, and "Moth" collections. But I have to believe that if the bookcase had been empty with just a Billy Collins book on it, his brother would have been okay. To quote my partner: it's Collins' "delight in imagination for its own sake" that makes his poems so successful, but sometimes his accessibility can make him "seem trivial," when it's really great skill. Like many of us, I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than politics this week, so here is the shortest poem that I found in this collection: "Cupid"


Fresh in from the rain/you asked me/how long a cubit is./I thought/the subject at hand/was love./But it was an ark/you were building,/a little one/just for you.

If you want, you can imagine that it's what George said to Kellyanne.


— From Carla's Picks

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I am a huge Billy Collins fan. I find his writing to be comforting and . . . "natural." He writes about everyday things, like watching an ant walk across a kitchen table, or the annoyance of the neighbor's barking dog. Collins has a delightful sense of humor, though his work is in no way "comedic." This is his 13th book of poetry and every bit as good and delightful as the last one — which is always my most treasured — until the next collection comes out. I can't say that any one of them is my all-time favorite, although currently this new collection just knocks me out. I do adore them all equally. Read "Anniversary" on page 99 to get a sense of the serious and sentimental side of Billy Collins. Then, go to page 42 for a good chuckle over "Listening to Hank Mobley Around 11 O'Clock After a Long Fun Boozy Dinner, the Four of Us, at Captain Pig's, Our Favorite Restaurant in Town." There you go. Enjoy. 
— From Vicki's Picks

A new collection, his thirteenth, from former U.S. Poet Laureate and “America’s favorite poet” (The Wall Street Journal) Billy Collins. Over 50 new poems showcase his deft mixing of the playful and the serious that has made him one of our country’s most celebrated and widely read poets.

— From Gifting Books - Holiday 2020


A wondrous collection from Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate and New York Times bestselling author of The Rain in Portugal
“The poems are marked by [Collins’s] characteristic humor and arise out of small, banal moments, unearthing the extraordinary or uncanny in the everyday.”—The Wall Street Journal

Whale Day brings together more than fifty poems and showcases the deft mixing of the playful and the serious that has made Billy Collins one of our country’s most celebrated and widely read poets. Here are poems that leap with whimsy and imagination, yet stay grounded in the familiar, common things of everyday experience. Collins takes us for a walk with an impossibly ancient dog, discovers the original way to eat a banana, meets an Irish spider, and even invites us to his own funeral. Sensitive to the wonders of being alive as well as the thrill of mortality, Whale Day builds on and amplifies Collins’s reputation as one of America’s most interesting and durable poets.

About the Author

Billy Collins is the author of twelve prior collections of poetry including The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. A former Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York, Collins served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and as New York State Poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Florida with his wife, Suzannah.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780399589751
ISBN-10: 0399589759
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 29th, 2020
Pages: 144
Language: English