Billy Collins is one of the most credited poets of this century and last. He is a man of many talents, most recognized though by his provocative and riveting poetry. As John McEnroe was to the sport of tennis, Billy Collins has done the same for the world of poetry. Collin’s rejected the old ways of poetry, created his own form, broke all the rules, and still retains the love and respect of the poet community. Collins has received the title of Poet Laureate of the United States twice and also has received countless awards and acknowledgements. He has achieved this through a style of poetry that is not over-interpreted and hard to understand to most, but that of the complete opposite, his poetry is hospitable and playful.
Many of Billy Collin’s poems concern the act of writing, be it a response to someone else’s work or a discussion of the poems themselves. His poetry is less threatening to the non poet community because his poetry is more transparent than others. His poems don’t usually have a deep underlying meaning that needs to be dwelled upon to understand, but rather simplified thought that can be understood by just reading it once. Collin’s poem After Reading Some Tales of the Hindu Gods is a prime example of this:
After Reading Some Tales of the Hindu Gods
“She looked into his mouth and saw the whole universe displayed therein beyond his oral threshold. --Bhagavata Purana
Usually, when I would lock my elbows
on the bathroom sink
and open my mouth wide in front of the mirror,
I would see teeth and a quivering tongue
and that little glistening punching bag
that hangs from the roof of the mouth.
But now, I look past all that,
past the factory of mastication
into the darkne...
... middle of paper ...
...ife, and yet she is also the Goblet a symbol of beauty and somehow also the wine. Collins’ doesn’t understand how she can be the goblet and the wine, but she just simply is, which is what fascinates him the most about her. The cleverness in “Litany” is derived from the title, the poem itself is a Litany, or in other words, a list which is riddled with lofty praises for his lover, but also assertions of himself.
Billy Collins refused to stick to a standard of writing which has gained him so much fame over the years. He has been acknowledged with many awards and titles including Poet Laureate and Poet of the State of New York, he has also been compared to the late, great Robert Frost. His simplistic poetry structure and witty, dry humor has set a standard for the modern poet. Billy Collin’s hospitable and playful poetry will continue his legacy for many years to come.
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