Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Apple That Astonished Paris by Billy Collins

I am eating my hat here!
For years, I have railed against poetry, which I now trace to the nuns of my grammar school days who made us memorize a poem every Friday for recitation on Monday. Classics like “The Duel” by Eugene Field or “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear, still lurk in my mind.
Then I discovered a Billy Collins' poem, “Introduction to Poetry.” I loved the humor, the simple language, and the clever associations. I now own all his books and am awaiting delivery of a book not listed anywhere in any of the books I do have: “Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes.” I am not sure what this is, but I hope to find out in the next couple of days.
This “Apple” collection contains a number of poems published outside his regularly listed books. Some are from his early days and reflect a strikingly different style. I can’t say I like all the poems here, but there are more than enough to make this volume from the University of Arkansas Press worthwhile. 4-1/2 stars.
--Chiron, 5/20/07

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