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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
I hate poetry. Really, I just decided once and for all that I hate it. I had to go to a poetry reading the other night and I tried drinking beforehand, and I realized very quickly that all the beer in the world wasn't going to make me happy listening to what passes for poetry these days. It's like everyone got excited by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot and decided to go for the random word generator school of poetry. Angsty teen poetry and adult contemporary poetry - there's not much difference.

Which is why I love this CD so much. In a little more than an hour, Billy Collins completely changes my mind about what poetry should be like. It's funny. It's witty. He's actually writing for an audience that isn't full of fellow poets who think that "deep" is a substitute for entertaining. And yes, it's entertaining. The poem about the dog that he put to sleep is sad and funny. The summer camp poem actually reminded me of that stupid craft that I also made at summer camp - only in the 80s instead of the 60s. The haiku poem was great and the poem about looking out the window was just too amazing. And the simile poem is a beautiful slap in the face to the simile and metaphor.

I'm sure that Billy Collins has some detractors. I don't know why. But when I go to poetry readings and I listen to the droning of the metaphor and rhythm I'm sure that many of the professional poets envy him. Or declare him too simple. But he's not simple at all. He's just that funny and entertaining. Sure, I also like poems that have multiple themes from all societies and Catheryne Valente does those very well, but for now I'm going to let Billy Collins restore my faith in poetry.

Just don't ask me to go to your professor's poetry reading.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2005
"The Best Cigarette" is good. This is fantastic. Live reading by the auther is how Collins' poems should all be heard. Bill Murray's introduction will have you in stitches. There is nothing like this and you should own this. Do not wait, order now. The only way this could be better is if it were longer and included more poems. Let's hope for more recorded performances by this modern genius poet.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2005
I listened to this 3 times while driving around this past week. For a casual poetry fan like me, the cd is tremendously entertaining. As much as I like reading Billy Collin's poetry, hearing it spoken was a real treat. In particular, the humorous aspect was intensified. Some of his poems are downright hilarious. The cadence of his language is wonderful. The poems manage to be simple but thoughtful. I strongly recommend the cd.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2006
First, it was e. e. cummings then Pablo Neruda and now Billy Collins. I'm so glad that I heard this first before I read anything else by him---what a fantastic treat: to hear the poet give actual voice to his own tender, illuminating musings---so that then I could hear him in my head as I enjoyed his other writings.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2005
Billy Collins is as satisfying as a Mozart concerto. This CD of a presentation in NYC in the spring of 2005 is a wonderful collection of his work that is at once accessible and magical. It is a gift to be able to hear him read his poems. I have had this CD in my car player for weeks now, and never tire of hearing his poems again and again; like the Mozart concerto, I discover new innuendos at each refrain. It is therapeutic. Bill Murray's introduction was the only disappointment on the CD
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2006
My wife and I were unfamiliar with Billy Collins until we recently heard him on "A Prairie Home Companion." We were delighted to find this album, which includes most of the poems he read on the air. The poems are great in print, but there's no substitute for the poet's laconic delivery, and this album has the added feature of his explaining the origin of each poem. An unexpected bonus for me, a somewhat senior citizen, was finding that my 28-year-old daughter enjoyed the album as much as I did. A word of warning, though: Do not drive or operate machinery while listening to this album. Lines that crack you up beyond control can sneak up on you! (One downside: Bill Murray's introduction is pretty lame unless you're a really big fan of his.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2006
Billy Collins is a lot of fun. He loves to play with words and I love to let my mind play along with him. Someone called him the "Garrison Keillor" of poetry. It is true that Billy tells a lot of stories in his poems and he often does so in a kind of folksy way. He doesn't sing like Garrison and Garrison doesn't craft words with the artistry of Billy. This recording of his live performance before a very appreciative audience is wonderful. BUY BILLY. He will make you happy and thoughtful and even melancholy sometimes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2006
If you have never heard Billy Collins read his poetry, you are in for a treat. I have been entranced with his work ever since I read the first poem in Sailing Alone Around the Room, the first collection I purchased. But nothing can compare with hearing his poetry rendered in his own voice. The experience is further enhanced by the audience reactions to his poems. Collins has a non-declamatory, almost deadpan style, but his timing is impeccable and the audience is quite entertained. It is also interesting to hear his commentaries on the origins of some of the poems. Bill Murray gives a brief introduction and brings down the house. Gather your family around and listen to this together. You will feel as if you are part of those who were privileged enough to be at Symphony Space that night hearing the performance live. What a delightful evening of poetry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2006
Getting the chance to hear poems read by the author only adds to the effect - this is a great buy. After hearing this I also found some stuff online that everyone else should go check out, too. If you go to google video and search for billy collins you'll find "The Dead" and "Forgetfulness" in animated form. Very cool and it's Billy reading. Definitely check them out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2006
Billy Collins Live is great! The introduction by Bill Murray is the perfect touch. Hearing Collins reading his own poetry is superb. He, of course, makes the right pauses at all the right places keeping his listening audience hanging on his every word. His dry wit along with his perfect reading style makes for a very enjoyable and entertaining audio CD.
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