Billy Collins – Poet Extraordinaire

Billy CollinsMost people know about Billy Collins. If you don’t, he is a poet. He’s been the U.S. Poet Laureate twice and has written over 14 collections of poems. Collins’ work has been described as ‘accessible,’ meaning that many people find his poems readable and enjoyable. He has been dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, and has read his poetry at venues as different as the White House Inaugural and NPRs, A Prairie Home Companion. There is a lot to this interesting poet, so you might want to read more here.

At a recent poetry workshop in Key West Florida, Billy provided some key insights into how one might improve their poetry writing. Some memorable quotes include:

  • “If you want to express yourself, get a bell and ring it”
  • “Writing is all about the love of strangers”
  • “Listen to your poem and see where it wants to go”
  • “Have a surprise in the poem”
  • “Simple is best”
  • “Entertaining is important”
  • “Time is the subject of all poetry — life is beautiful and we die”

A few books he recommended for the budding poet, include:

  • In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop by Kowit, Steve
  • Best Words, Best Order, 2nd Edition: Essays on Poetry by Dobyns, Stephen
  • The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing by Hugo, Richard

But the best way to get to know Billy Collins is through his work…

Here are some links to his poetry and you just have to hear him read his poems (if you know him you’ll love to remember these great poems, and if you don’t know him you’ll be hooked!).

About MWycombe

Webmaster for Napa Valley Writers
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