The Poet for Poetry Haters

The Poet for Poetry Haters

Billy Collins is the poetic everyman. He writes poems about lingerie catalogs coming in the mail or deciding not to own a gun because his neighbor's dog won't stop barking. In spite being one of the most acclaimed living poets, he is easy to like, understand, and enormously funny. He doesn't pen metaphors about mending walls or snowy woods, or compare body parts to nature like Byron or Song of Solomon. Collins' poems make you chuckle or make you muse, but won't frustrate you.

The poem "Revenant," is written from the perspective of his dead dog. Here is an excerpt:

"I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.
You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives."

In "Billy Collins Live" he reads his own work and listeners can hear the sly smile and the conspiratorial wink in his verse.  By now many of us have realized what we learned in junior high was wrong; it may be worthwhile to confound your seventh grade English teacher and find poetry enjoyable.

--Cindy F., Headquarters



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