Why should I have complicated feelings about a poet's work that is simple, clear, and precise? In a way, Billy Collins' poems reminds me of Mary Oliver my favorite poet of all time and Robert Frost in terms of his writing style and his ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and everyday. I'm not sure how else to des Why should I have complicated feelings about a poet's work that is simple, clear, and precise? I'm not sure how else to describe my thoughts on this collection, especially since most of them are subjective instead of critical.
It just Apr 02, Rachel rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , poetry.
I would not call myself a fan of poetry by any stretch of the imagination. I avoided poetry classes as much as possible while getting my English degree, and suffered and rolled my eyes through the ones I had to take. This is an enormous generalization, but poetry usually feels to me like it's obscure for the sake of obscurity. I love him so much. To this day, one of my favorite college memories is getting the chance to hear him read his work in person at a forum.
And one of my proudest religious moments is working one of his poems into a talk at church once. Poetry for the reader who dislikes poetry. I love that he obviously doesn't take himself too seriously as a writer--I get the feeling that he's sometimes chuckling to himself while he's writing, and that he would laugh if he saw us reading too much into his poems. I don't know, maybe I'm just thinking of him the way I want him to be, but that's the impression I get from his poems. When both an English student AND her biology major husband can appreciate and enjoy reading the same poet, he's got to be doing something right.
All that being said, to be honest, there were just as many poems in this book that I wasn't crazy about as there were poems that I really loved, but I'm giving it 4 stars anyway because the ones that I loved were really fantastic, and I just love his writing and approach, period. The Listener "But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod ready for the next arrow. Jul 26, Hansen Wendlandt rated it really liked it. After reading Nine Horses was the first time I've ever gone immediately online to order the rest of an author's works.
It's as good as poetry can get for someone who appreciates poetry without any formal study. Collins has an impeccable style, longer poems than Dickinson which can just scroll by , but short enough to keep full attention. Shakespeare might push layers of meaning onto single words, but Collins has an uncanny way of using a straightfoward line that means one thing with the previou After reading Nine Horses was the first time I've ever gone immediately online to order the rest of an author's works.
Shakespeare might push layers of meaning onto single words, but Collins has an uncanny way of using a straightfoward line that means one thing with the previous, something totally different with the latter line. Awareness of life and nature, simplicity and clarity of language, are consistent beautiful themes.
He appreciates the art of words without relying on esoteric metaphors or using poetry to comment on poetry; still, yellow birds, trains, the color orange and the afterlife are impressionable symbols throughout.
As one might expect with a youthful senior, Collins writes about travel more than love, the present more than future hopes. But I can't think of any place or age that wouldn't work for reading this fabulous book. Jul 01, Graydon rated it really liked it. I love Billy Collins!
I have read most of this book, I like to pick it up now and again when I need to be reminded of what honest and uninhibited writing is like. Some of the poems I have read multiple times others I have yet to read. Oct 17, Matthew Huff rated it it was amazing. Collins' ability to transform a seemingly mundane detail into a poetic cosmos is simply excellent. He's got a lot of winners in this collection. Sep 05, Wendy rated it really liked it Shelves: made-me-laugh , death-and-dying , poetry. Maybe its me, but I felt like a large number of these poems were meditations on mortality.
And then there is "Litany," which begins with a quote from one Jacques Crickillon: "You are the bread and the knife, the crystal goblet and the wine," but then goes on to exclaim "You are not the pine-scented air. There is no way you are the pine-scented air. To each his own.
Jan 22, Kristy K rated it liked it Shelves: , poetry. Nov 26, Annie rated it it was amazing Shelves: challenge-list , poetry. Nine Horses is a collection of poetry for those of us who have attained some of the patience and wisdom that come with middle age. If the poet were younger, Collins admits, "I might be Nine Horses is a collection of poetry for those of us who have attained some of the patience and wisdom that come with middle age.
If the poet were younger, Collins admits, "I might be thinking about something I heard at a party, about an unusual car, or the press of Saturday night;" instead, he stands on the lawn to observe a bird leaving its nest, tall white flowers and "the moon, looking like the top of Shakespeare's famous forehead. How endless it seemed until we veered off the broad turnpike into a pasture of high grass, heading toward the dizzying cliffs of mortality Generation after generation, we shoulder forward under the play of clouds until we high-step off the sharp lip into space.
So I should not have to remind you that little time is given here to rest on a wayside bench, to stop and bend to the wildflowers, or to study a bird on a branch - not when the young keep shoving from behind, not when the old are tugging us forward, pulling on our arms with all their feeble strength. Feb 28, Cheryl rated it liked it Shelves: brain-exercise , feeding-the-learning-hunger.
He is called "sensible and gifted," and I have to laugh; I bet not many poets want to be called sensible, I imagine they are looking for more flowery adjectives like passionate or brilliant. But these poems aren't really either, they are, well, sensible.
But gifted! I like his imagery: "But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod ready for the next arrow. Then down at the other end a blue and white marble becomes the earth and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin. I get a glass from the cabinet, open a bottle of wine, then I sit in a ladder back chair, a benevolent god presiding over a miniature creation myth, and I begin to sing a homemade canticle of thanks for this perfect little arrangement, for not making the earth too hot or cold not making it spin too fast or too slow " As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse "Today I heard a voice announce that Eric Dolphy, 36 when he died, has now been dead for 36 years.
I wonder- did anyone else sense something when another EriC Dolphy lifetime was added to the span of his life, when we all took another full Dolphy step forward in time, flipped over the EriC Dolphy yardstick once again? It would have been so subtle- like the sensation you might feel as you passed through the moment at the exact center of your life or as you crossed the equator at night in a boat. I don't know quite how to respond to this. I don't resent the fact that Collins leads a wonderful, charmed life, flitting from Bermuda to Paris to the club car on the New York- Niagara Falls line.
I like the directness and the clearly hard-won effects of his a-bit-like-classical-Chinese-poetry-translations voice. But I want a poem to challenge me to step outside my own world and look at it , a bit startled perhaps, through a complicating or contradictory lens. At the very least, I want it to mak I don't know quite how to respond to this. At the very least, I want it to make me think. I want more than beautiful arrangements of light and shade and the borrowed dignity of the death of others.
Reading this feels like listening to a minor ECM album - beautifully recorded, stylishly and unfussily presented and somehow more of a disconnected holiday from the world than an invitation to engage more deeply with it. Dec 29, Patricia J. O'Brien rated it really liked it. I like poetry that is first of all honest, followed by language that has cadence, vivid imagery and emotional impact. It can be witty or painful or anything in between if it has the other ingredients like Billy Collins's Nine Horses. Some may disagree with me, but I don't think poetry has to be epic in length or carry a heavy weight of import.
For me, it needs to be a snapshot of life that resonates like a bell. For instance, I love the way "Aimless Love" opens: "This morning as I walked along the I like poetry that is first of all honest, followed by language that has cadence, vivid imagery and emotional impact. Mar 05, Tracy rated it really liked it Shelves: spring-challenge Here's a sample to show you that poetry can be beautiful, but funny, too I was reading this in bed, and laughed out loud -- actually woke my husband -- because I could just SEE this little mouse But your face was absolutely straight when you twisted the lid down on the round tin where the matches, you said, are always stowed.
Who could sleep that night? Who could whisk away the thought of the one unlikely mouse padding along a cold water pipe behind the floral wallpaper gripping a single wooden match between the needles of his teeth? Who could not see him rounding a corner, the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam, the sudden flare, and the creature for one bright, shining moment suddenly thrust ahead of his time -- now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice, lit up in the blazing insulation, the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants of what once was your house in the country? Jan 10, Sarah rated it it was ok. I am truly mystified why this guy is "the most popular poet in America," according to the New York Times. His poems are like making a great to-do about hopping around in a tiny circle, or like reading someone's tweets narrating what they had for breakfast.
His poems are all very brief snapshots, without much that provides any kind of resonance. They are easy to understand, which is perhaps the reason why they are "popular," but I didn't get much out of the read.
Collins leans heavily on first pe I am truly mystified why this guy is "the most popular poet in America," according to the New York Times. Collins leans heavily on first person, which may account for the lack of variety in point of view. There is no "big picture," no universal.
The one poem I actually liked was "To My Patron," because the final lines are such a twist and have such humor, the like of which is more or less absent from the rest of the book. After I read that poem, I began noticing other lines in his poems which presented a surprising twist.
Often those lines were towards the beginning or middle, however, and I began wondering how the poem would be different if Collins changed the climax to hinge on the twist. Jan 27, Castela added it. THE PARADE How exhilarating it was to march along the great boulevards in the sunflash of trumpets and under all the waving flags— the flag of ambition, the flag of love.
So many of us streaming along— all of humanity, really— moving in perfect step, yet each lost in the room of a private dream. How stimulating the scenery of the world, the rows of roadside trees, the huge curtain of the sky. How endless it seemed until we veered off the broad turnpike into a pasture of high grass, headed toward the dizzying cl THE PARADE How exhilarating it was to march along the great boulevards in the sunflash of trumpets and under all the waving flags— the flag of ambition, the flag of love. How endless it seemed until we veered off the broad turnpike into a pasture of high grass, headed toward the dizzying cliffs of mortality.
Generation after generation, we keep shouldering forward until we step off the lip into space.
Since he relaunched himself in with Brilliant Trees , Sylvian has released 17 records with a variety of musicians. Its quick and easy! First name and Last name. Links First Timer? After reading Nine Horses was the first time I've ever gone immediately online to order the rest of an author's works.
And I should not have to remind you that little time is given here to rest on a wayside bench, to stop and bend to the wildflowers, or to study a bird on a branch— not when the young are always shoving from behind, not when the old keep tugging us forward, pulling on our arms with all their feeble strength.
Apr 11, E rated it liked it Shelves: poetry. Finally, someone captures the horrific pain and angst of getting that horrible tune caught in your head for hours, even days, in "More than a Woman. The final poem, "Poetry," is a funny, lovely, and wise treatise on how poetry has a different job than fiction or drama. Collins is such an exceptional observer of the unexceptional--how the quotidian is the most extraordinary thing we can ever e Finally, someone captures the horrific pain and angst of getting that horrible tune caught in your head for hours, even days, in "More than a Woman.
Collins is such an exceptional observer of the unexceptional--how the quotidian is the most extraordinary thing we can ever experience--if only we will pay attention and appreciate what we see before us every day of our everyday existence. Jan 04, Kirby rated it really liked it. The holidays and the end of in general took a real bite out of me, so I thought some light poetry might help soothe my spirit. This is really accessible poetry that celebrates ordinary pleasures, like the sun on your face, or setting a bird free that somehow got trapped in your living room.
It's not revolutionary stuff, but it was very nice reading a little every day when I got home from work and before bed. It reminded me how much I like poetry and how certain types of poetry do indeed hav The holidays and the end of in general took a real bite out of me, so I thought some light poetry might help soothe my spirit.
It reminded me how much I like poetry and how certain types of poetry do indeed have that spirit-soothing effect that I need sometimes! It's never unpleasant to read Billy Collins, but the payoffs of this collection's 51 poems seemed smaller than those of his Sailing Alone Around the Room. That's not surprising, given that the latter collects standout poems from his whole career.
Nine Horses is a musical collaboration between singer/instrumentalist David Sylvian, his brother and frequent collaborator drummer Steve Jansen, and electronic composer/remixer Burnt Friedman. Nine Horses is a collaboration between David Sylvian, Steve Jansen and Burnt Friedman. Other contributors include Norwegian trumpeter and Supersilent member Arve Henriksen, Swedish vocalist Stina Nordenstam, and Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano.
Still, this book's offerings often felt a little too light, too precious. May 16, John Curtis rated it it was ok.
This is what happens when a writer becomes a parody of his or herself. Billy Collins' stuff was charming and refreshing enough to get away with writing the same two or three poems over and over again for several books. However, a second decade of poems about wine, jazz, and laid-back Italian vacations tries one's patience. Feb 18, oNightshade rated it liked it. My favorite lines, from the poem Love : I saw him looking up at her and what she was doing the way the eyes of saints are painted when they are looking up at God when he is doing something remarkable, something that identifies him as God.
May 15, Daniela rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Oct 14, Pages Buy.
Aug 10, Pages Buy. Oct 14, Pages. Aug 10, Pages. The poems in this collection reach dazzling heights while being firmly grounded in the everyday. With clarity, precision, and enviable wit, Collins transforms those moments we too often take for granted into brilliant feats of creative imagination. Nine Horses is a poetry collection to savor and to share. Already in his forties when he debuted with a full-length book, The Apple That Astonished Paris, Collins has become the first poet since Robert Frost to combine high critical acclaim with broad popular appeal.
And, as if to crown this success, he was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States for —, and reappointed for — What accounts for this remarkable achievement is the poems themselves, quiet meditations grounded in everyday life that ascend effortlessly into eye-opening imaginative realms. These new poems, in which Collins continues his delicate negotiations between the clear and the mysterious, the comic and the elegiac, are sure to sustain and increase his audience of avid readers.
He is… More about Billy Collins. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer. Read An Excerpt.