Billy Collins

Billy Collins

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William James Collins (born March 22, 1941) is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York (retired, 2016).
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Taking Off Emily Dickinsons Clothes

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First, her tippet made of tulle,easily lifted off her shoulders and laidon the back of a wooden chair
And her bonnet,the bow undone with a light forward pull
Then the long white dress, a morecomplicated matter with mother-of-pearlbuttons...
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Pinup

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The murkiness of the local garage is not so densethat you cannot make out the calendar of pinupdrawings on the wall above a bench of tools
Your ears are ringing with the sound ofthe mechanic hammering on your exhaust pipe,and as you look clos...
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Candle Hat

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In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breatherfrom painting The B...
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Fishing on the Susquehanna in July

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I have never been fishing on the Susquehannaor on any river for that matterto be perfectly honest
Not in July or any monthhave I had the pleasure--if it is a pleasure--of fishing on the Susquehanna
I am more likely to be foundin a quiet ...
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Introduction to Poetry

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I ask them to take a poemand hold it up to the lightlike a color slide or press an ear against its hive
I say drop a mouse into a poemand watch him probe his way out,or walk inside the poem's roomand feel the walls for a light switch
I w...
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The Trouble with Poetry

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The Trouble with Poetry:
A Poem of
Billy
The trouble with poetry,
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Marginalia

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Sometimes the notes are ferocious,skirmishes against the authorraging along the borders of every pagein tiny black script
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,they seem to say,
I would bolt the d...
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Litany

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You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine
-Jacques Crickillon You are the bread and the knife,the crystal goblet and the wine
You are the dew on the morning grassand the burning wheel of the sun
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Consolation

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How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboardand all the sudd...
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Another Reason Why I Dont Keep A Gun In The House

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The neighbors' dog will not stop barking
He is barking the same high, rhythmic barkthat he barks every time they leave the house
They must switch him on on their way out
The neighbors' dog will not stop barking
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