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The Trouble With Poetry - And Other Poems (2007)

The Trouble With Poetry - And Other Poems (2007)
4.2 of 5 Votes: 1
0375755217 (ISBN13: 9780375755217)
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The Trouble With Poetry - And Other P...
The Trouble With Poetry - And Other Poems (2007)

About book: His poems make me smile, sad, introspective, happy, pensive, feel alive. But most of all they make me want to write better poetry myself. How can you not love this:THE TROUBLE WITH POETRYThe trouble with poetry, I realized as I walked along a beach one night -- cold Florida sand under my bare feet, a show of stars in the sky --the trouble with poetry is that it encourages the writing of more poetry, more guppies crowding the fish tank, more baby rabbits hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass. And how will it ever end? unless the day finally arrives when we have compared everything in the world to everything else in the world, and there is nothing left to do but quietly close our notebooks and sit with our hands folded on our desks.Poetry fills me with joy and I rise like a feather in the wind. Poetry fills me with sorrow and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.But mostly poetry fills me with the urge to write poetry, to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame to appear at the tip of my pencil.And along with that, the longing to steal, to break into the poems of others with a flashlight and a ski mask.And what an unmerry band of thieves we are, cut-purses, common shoplifters, I thought to myself as a cold wave swirled around my feet and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea, which is an image I stole directly from Lawrence Ferlinghetti -- to be perfectly honest for a moment --the bicycling poet of San Francisco whose little amusement park of a book I carried in a side pocket of my uniform up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

I didn’t like this as well as some of Collins’ other collections, but I almost gave it five stars just for containing one of my favorite poems, “The Lanyard.” (If you don’t know it, go to YouTube and hear him recite it.) “Revenant,” in the voice of a euthanized pet, is also five stars: “I am the dog you put to sleep…/come back to tell you this simple thing:/I never liked you – not one bit.” At times, though, the poems in this collection were off putting, either calling too much attention to themselves as poems or simply not engaging me.However, I am tremendously grateful to Collins for his crusade to bring a larger audience to poetry by being accessible and witty, not dry and pedantic. That’s why I did enjoy his jab at the pedants in “The Introduction.” He speaks as a poet at the mike, “I don’t think the next poem/needs any introduction,” then proceeds to explain a long list of references and erudite words that have no connection. He ends, “It’s about the time I went picking wild strawberries./It’s called ‘Picking Wild Strawberries.’”
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I don't think Billy Collins is the absolute best poet, but he is hands down my personal favorite. I loved this collection, just as I always love his collections, and some of the highlights here were "Bereft," "The Introduction," "Flock," "You, Reader," and "The Drawing Class." "The Lanyard," which happens to be one of my all-time favorite poems, is also in this volume; I first heard Collins read it several years ago on "A Prairie Home Companion," and it totally cracked me up. He's just the greatest. (I'll stop gushing now.)
I don't generally like poetry.Oh, perhaps a little Robert Frost,and some say parts of the Bible are poetryand I like the Bible.But, other than that, bleah!So my daughter-in-law, Shannon,hoping to retrieve mefrom the land of poetry illiterates,loaned me her book of Billy Collins poems."If you don't like these,"she suggested darkly,"there is no hope for you."So I read Collins' poems,or is it the poems of Collins?Well, no matter, I read them.And what did I find?Not poetry,but philosophic prose brokeninto stacked-up part lines.If this is really poetry,then perhaps I do like it.Flock, for instance,on page 35,is pretty good."Oh," you say,"you just like that onebecause it's so short."Well, I admit it is short,but I didn't like itjust for that.I like it becausethe last three linestickled me.I also liked You, Readerand it's kind of longfor a Collins poem.Although I don't begrudgeCollins first includingrain-soaked windows,ivy wallpaper,and the goldfish circling in its bowlinto his poem.After all, he's supposed to be the poet.Then there's The Lanyard.It is sweet, and I knowmothers are like that,so it rang true.And I like The Studentwhich called to my mindthrough the vortex of timecicada singing in the treesabove the velvety lawnin the yard of the housewe rented in Marylandlong years ago.So thank you, Shannon;you have succeeded.I like more poetry now(if Collins really writes poetry)than I did before.So what is there left to say?Oh yes, see,some brown hens are standing in the rain.
This might be my favorite of his books. I haven't read all of them, but I have read most. It's the only one I can recall where he comes across, at times, as vulnerable or forlorn. He's always a master technician of the line, but also of this delicate, light-as-air tone. In this collection, there is sorrow, even a man contemplating his own mortality. That all really appealed to me. It takes him off the poetry pedestal and places him square in the ranks with the rest of us sincere-hearted fumblers.
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