Sunday, October 6, 2013

Book Review: October 6, 2013: The Trouble With Poetry

Madame L found this wonderful collection of poems by Billy Collins in her local library, and if she ever finds a used copy of it in a bookstore, she's going to snap it up.

The trouble with poetry, as Mr. Collins says, is

...that is 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...

Not that poetry's only job is comparing everything to everything else, but it certainly does that well, doesn't it. And Billy Collins' poems make Madame L laugh and cry and think and, as he says, fill Madame L with the urge to write poetry. Which is good.

Here's another poem from that collection, so you can see what Madame L means:


Yes, that's Orion over there,
the three studs of the belt
clearly lined up just off the horizon.

And if you turn around you can see
Gemini, very visible tonight,
the twins looking off into space as usual.

That cluster a little higher in the sky
is Cassiopeia sitting in her astral chair
if I'm not mistaken.

And directly overhead,
isn't that Virginia Woolf
slipping along the River Ouse

in her inflatable canoe?
See the wide-brimmed hat and there,
the outline of the paddle, raised and dripping stars?

There, now you see what Madame L means? Doesn't that make you want to laugh and then go out and look at the stars and write your own poem?


Ellen said...

Yes, it does. Beautiful poetry! And I think it's wonderful that you've been writing your own. Love it!

AskTheGeologist said...

Wow. I see what you mean. That sharp right turn in the Constellations nearly knocked the breath out of me.