A nice selection of Billy Collins poems, his relaxed yet astute poetic voice glides the reader effortlessly through the poems. Is this his best? No. Aimless Love is a much better collection and if you can get the audio version of Billy Collins than it is even better. But this is still good for fans of Collins. His lyrical poetry and humour is brilliant.
To read a Billy Collins poem is to be drawn into a conversation, just for two. He sets up a warm intimacy with the reader with such nonchalance and charm that it's hard to imagine how anyone could not be engaged. This is his ruse, and his appeal; his use of the vernacular makes it seem as though you are listening to the person next to you on the tube... and this person just happens to be funny, observant, and able to see into your soul.
Yes, he's American, but his poetry has a universal subject matter. He suggests that he writes best when he has nothing in particular to say, and many of his poems are indeed about "nothing in particular" or at least seem to be. Often from an amusing opener, Collins will take us on a journey to far off places, the endings rather distant from their beginnings.
Yes, he's humorous, even more so when you hear him read his own work. I rarely laugh out loud at Collins when I read him alone, because there's usually an anchor of melancholy, or a truth, or a resonance deeper than a laugh for me... but other readers should enjoy his work for what is this rare element in poetry... wit.
For the new to poetry, Collins presents one of the most accessible, and enjoyable doors into the genre; and for the initiated he's a comforting voice, a reassuring presence, a resting place amongst the glut of intellectual fare.
And here's a taster of Collins from the first and the last verse of the ever popular poem, Forgetfulness:
The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of. [...] No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
[NB: This selected poems contains work from The Apple that Astonished Paris, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning - 4 collections spanning the decade from 1988-1998.]
Billy Collins writes poems that achieve something incredible--he weaves humor and gravity together into an often hilarious and always exquisite braid of words. The simplicity and directness of the voice entice you in, and before you realize it, the poem has had its way with you...and left you breathless and grateful. I highly recommend this book for serious poetry lovers as well as first-time poetry buyers. This is excellent and amazing work.
This book is a superb introduction to the poetry of American poet Billy Collins. It is selected poems from four of his books - The Apple that Astonished Paris, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning.
This is the first of Collins' poetry I've read, and I was so delighted with it I have since bought 4 other of his books. His poetry is wryly funny, warm, human, and deceptively readable. But don't let that fool you into thinking his poetry is "simple"; its just that he wears his learning easily, and writes so beautifully, that its sometimes on the second reading that the full meaning(s) of the poetry sink in (the title poem is a good example).
This is an intelligent, readable, and accessible poet - and there aren't enough of those around to let you ignore one of them; so buy and read this collection now. I promise you that it will leave you wanting more.
This is by far one of my favourite collections of poetry. With works such as 'Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun In The House' and an amusing parody on the Three Blind mice, you can't go wrong. As a writer myself, I am always keen to gain inspiration from the teachings of others; I assure you that with this book, there is no limit to the depths into which the mind can delve. A great collection from an increasingly great and witty author!
Coming from Ireland - a world heritage site for poetry tourism - its great to read a serious poet who doesnt take his poetry, his times, or his place in history too solemnly. Unimpressed by the posturing of many currently "well regarded" poets I found Collins' lightness of touch - his combination of unforgettable images, and cynical, yet unpretentious sentiments - rescuing poetry, for me, from pseuds corner. I went straight out and bought his stuff when I heard him say in a BBC interview:"Poetry is hard to write; why should it also be hard to read?"
Remember as a child how clear and funny and intriguing and peculiar the world looked? Remember how your imagination sped off on its own, like a bounding dog, sure it would find something fabulous? I'd forgotten this until I read my first Billy Collins poem. Since then, every one of his poems reminds me of this fresh, open way of seeing the world. Billy Collins restores your childlike eye, and reminds your adult self of all the magic out there in the world. I love him for this.
This is one of Billy Collins older collections (1988 I think) but, as an Emily Dickinson fan, I thought I'd start here.
I was expecting humour - he's a witty poet. I didn't expect him to get inside my skin quite so empathetically. American life doesn't always translate across The Pond, but his images still resonate for me, despite the fact that I'm never likely to need 'another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house'.
Update: OK - I see where I went wrong. I wrote this back in the day, before I got to grips with the star system. This is a 5* collection.