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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.|
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