July 18, 2009

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry

Ed. by Billy Collins, 2003
I love it when words
meant for anyone's ears fly
right over my head

An anthology of contemporary poems, Collins decided to focus on readers in high school, as it "all too often [is] the place where poetry goes to die." His introduction discusses modernist poetry, saying that "opacity became so closely associated with [it] that readers fled in droves into the waiting arms of novelists, where they could relax in the familiar surroundings of social realism." He states that "clarity is the real risk in poetry."

Although at least half of the poems included were still a tad obtuse, I was able to wholly relate to some, and I will even admit that John Updike's "Dog's Death" brought me to tears...twice. I remember the phrase "what the poet is trying to say" being repeated often in high school and college courses, and am pleased that there is no such lack of communication between these modern poets and myself. (PG-13)

My Goodreads Rating: 


  1. I wanted to start reading more poetry, to try to get a head start for HighSchool. So, I came here for advice. This seemed, to me, like a good place to start. But, when I looked it up in my public library, I discovered that the Sutter County Library doesn't hold even a single Billy Collins book. So, either I have to look elsewhere, or I should try a different author? Any suggestions?

  2. Sources say B.C.'s a nice guy.
    Perhaps you should skim some Pinsky...or some Tony Tost.