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Aimless Love: A Selection of Poems Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385366396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385366397
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Collins, or the speaker in his poems, watches himself with helpless bemusement as he lives “a life of continual self-expression, / jotting down little things.” Obsessive “noticing” gets him into all sorts of trouble, as recounted so wryly, so tenderly in “Aimless Love,” the poem that gives this vital and shrewdly provocative volume its title and in which the speaker records his sequential ardor for a wren, a mouse, and a bar of soap. In selections from his four most recent collections, from Nine Horses (2002) to Horoscopes for the Dead (2011), and 51 glimmering new poems, former poet laureate and reader favorite Collins, the maestro of the running-brook line and the clever pivot, celebrates the resonance and absurdity of what might be called the poet’s attention-surfeit disorder. He nimbly mixes the timeless––the sun, loneliness—with the fidgety, digital now. Some poems are funny from the opening gambit to the closing flourish. But Collins’ droll wit is often a diversionary tactic, so that when he strikes you with the hard edge of his darker visions, you reel. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“America’s favorite poet.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[Billy Collins] is able, with precious few words, to make me cry. Or laugh out loud. He is a remarkable artist. To have such power in such an abbreviated form is deeply inspiring.”—J. J. Abrams, The New York Times Book Review
 
“His work is poignant, straightforward, usually funny and imaginative, also nuanced and surprising. It bears repeated reading and reading aloud.”The Plain Dealer
 
“Collins has earned almost rock-star status. . . . He knows how to write layered, subtly witty poems that anyone can understand and appreciate—even those who don’t normally like poetry. . . . The Collins in these pages is distinctive, evocative, and knows how to make the genre fresh and relevant.”—The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Collins’s new poems contain everything you've come to expect from a Billy Collins poem. They stand solidly on even ground, chiseled and unbreakable. Their phrasing is elegant, the humor is alive, and the speaker continues to stroll at his own pace through the plainness of American life.”The Daily Beast
 
“[Collins’s] poetry presents simple observations, which create a shared experience between Collins and his readers, while further revealing how he takes life’s everyday humdrum experiences and makes them vibrant.”—The Times Leader
 
“Former poet laureate and reader favorite Collins, the maestro of the running-brook line and the clever pivot, celebrates the resonance and absurdity of what might be called the poet’s attention-surfeit disorder. . . . But Collins’s droll wit is often a diversionary tactic, so that when he strikes you with the hard edge of his darker visions, you reel.”Booklist

“A stellar jumping-off point . . . a joyride through all layers of his approach from 2002 to the present, which should not only please his current fans, but inspire many others to dive into Mr. Collins’s work, headfirst.”The Rumpus


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Billy Collins is one of my heroes.
Susan Mines
At the same time, in a pantheon somewhere, a person having great trouble suppressing a smile will be reading a Collins poem aloud to a loved one.
Mark A. Underwood
The poems are full of thoughtful humor - warm and insightful.
Mary L. York

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins regularly reads to standing-room audiences, and reading his poems, it's not hard to see why. They reward multiple levels of interpretation, unpack hidden implications in seemingly undistinguished moments, and wink sly humor at playfully receptive readers. But there's a moment in this collection where a switch flips unexpectedly. This produces a book that starts strong, but ends on a surprisingly flat, tired-sounding note.

Collins' longtime readers know his familiar arc: an ordinary moment on an ordinary day triggers a Proustian connection, seemingly sudden but wholly consistent. Perhaps memory intrudes, or ruminations run wild--a quote from a writing text imbues a moment with unanticipated urgency, or an ancient photo in a modern building creates a discordance Collins can't easily reconcile. Sometimes he just starts thinking, and the results surprise even himself:

"Writing in the Afterlife"

...
I had heard about the journey to the other side
and the clink of the final coin
in the leather purse of the man holding the oar,
but how could anyone have guessed

that as soon as we arrived
we would be asked to describe the place
and to include as much detail as possible--
not just the water, he insists

rather the oily, fathomless, rat-happy water,
not simply the shackles, but the rusty,
iron, ankle-shredding shackles...

While scholarly poets vanish into themselves, equating incomprehensibility with depth, Collins recognizes who reads his work. The baker doesn't bake the bread he wants to bake, but the bread his customers need to eat. No wonder, in a crowded poetry market, readers seek Collins out.
Read more ›
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. Niedt on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To me, a Billy Collins poem is like a box of Crackers Jacks: each has a familiar, "comfort food" flavor, but each also contains a little surprise by the end. I can't resist their ironic humor and plain-spoken style, and often they take me somewhere I didn't expect to land. This collection contains selections from his last four volumes of poetry, starting with Nine Horses, as well as 83 pages of new poems. Some believe that he "jumped the shark" with Nine Horses, but there are still some favorites to be found in these newer collected poems, like "Litany" and "The Lanyard". The brand-new poems have some gems as well, like the hilarious "Lesson for the Day" (in which he imagines Marianne Moore being run over by a steamroller!), "Here and There", and the moving 9/11 tribute "The Names". Collins is a still a master of the ars poetica, as evidenced by poems like "Drinking Alone" (the epigraph "after Li Po" is in itself enough to elicit a chuckle from any experienced poet); "Irish Poetry", and "The Suggestion Box". Collins has acquired a bad rap for being too "popular" and "accessible" over the years, but he deserves credit for his visibility, his entertaining "stand-up" reading style, and his projects like "Poetry 180", all of which have helped make poetry enjoyable again for the average American. And I, for one, don't mind reading a poet who doesn't make me work too hard, yet presents me with often unexpected, even profound, rewards.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J from NY VINE VOICE on September 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Since the release of his collection "Nine Horses" and the massive success Billy Collins has engendered, perhaps no other poet I'm aware of (except for John Ashbery) has caused such a stir within the poetry community. Some detest him as being poetry lite, like Cool Whip for the soul, and others see him as an accessible voice in an otherwise cryptic and elitist field filled with frauds who hide behind non sequiturs. I am in the middle.

Genuinely engrossed by some of the poems in this collection ("Writing In the Afterlife") and not too excited or stimulated by others ("Foundling"), I think of Collins as a sort of everyman's poet who should be viewed as a primer for other sorts of poetry. Perhaps the best analogy: a warm, glowing anti-syllabus that is meant to push the reader forward. What I enjoy, sometimes, about his work is the simplicity:

"Envoy"

Go, little book,
out of this house and into the world.

carriage made of paper rolling toward town
bearing a single passenger
beyond the reach of this jittery pen
and far from the desk and the nosy gooseneck lamp.

It is time to decamp,
put on a jacket and venture outside,
time to be regarded by other eyes,
bound to be held in foreign hands.

So off you go, infants of the brain,
with a wave and some bits of fatherly advice:

stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to to as many strangers as you can."

While I won't say that this poem is going to change my life, I like it. It is sincere, has a certain purity to it, and the images come clear as some very thin air.
If you like what Collins does, you do. If you don't, you don't. I say, read it if you like it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Baxter VINE VOICE on October 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a collection of past poems and also a new set of poems by the well known American Poet, Billy Collins. Collins has twice been US Poet Laureate and he deserves that honor, in my opinion, because his poems are approachable and touching. He reminds me of a somewhat whimsical Robert Frost writing in prose.

American Poetry is being overwhelmed by bad poetry written by bad poets that seems to be meant only for other bad poets in college writing programs. Harsh though my judgment is, Collins would agree and he has agreed in any number of essays on 'What's wrong with American Poetry' that seem to be a popular essay subject in various literary and semi-literary magazines. In poetry, obscurity should never be confused with profundity.

Collins' poetry attempts to reverse that trend and does so. Whether Collins is describing his morning cup of coffee before sitting down to write or a seemingly mundane occurrence from going to town the day before, Collins portrays his subject clearly and deeply with a touch of humor. These are great poems. After reading a few, you can actually remember their subject and find yourself thinking about their themes. Try that with your average Modern American Poetry Anthology often based on some wacko political theory or cultural sub-grouping rather than being good or thoughtful.

As a poetry lover, nothing gets me more stimulated that arguing with another poetry lover what a "good" poem should be. None of us ever agree. Often my regard for Kipling or Service or Frost or Pessoa or Camoes will set whoever I am talking with laughing. When they try to convince me that some modern poet that is highly regarded but no one can even quote a single line from is profound, I laugh right back at them. So I really can't say if you will like these poems; all I can really say in the end is that I did like them and many others have too. 4 stars.
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