If you need a little poetry in your life—and who doesn’t?—Billy Collins can be a good place to start. Collins writes unblushingly to attract new readers to poetry and to encourage those who have given up to come back. And he is famously funny. So much so that, because he reads his poems so amusingly and his readings have been so successful and well-attended, he has been called—not always as a compliment—a “stand-up poet.”

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  1. Thaddeus Wert Coolidge

    I remember first hearing Billy Collins when he was interviewed on Fresh Air, I think back in the late 1990s. Until I heard that interview and his reading of several poems, I had always assumed poetry was a deliberately obscure genre that I would never enjoy reading. 

    I bought his collection, Picnic, Lightning, and I was hooked. Thanks to Mr. Collins, I now have a small collection of poetry, including R. S. Gwynn, Dana Gioia, Wendell Berry, Jane Kenyon, and my now-favorite living poet, Scott Cairns. I’m also checking out some “classics”, like T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden. So far, my best discovery is Longfellow. America lost something when his poems and phrases dropped out of our common culture.

    • #1
    • March 31, 2020, at 10:17 AM PDT
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