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Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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“[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
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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:
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.
Yet, the repetition of pretty much the same method -- a sharp perception or evocation, a clever move toward defamiliarizing, and comforting reversal returning us to the familiar -- many of the poems reproduce this pattern and suggest to the reader who is traversing many pages of Collins's poems that his work is better read in moderation, a few poems at a time, with long rests between.
This is because the patterns so often seem to be the only excuse for the poem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't usually buy books of poetry, but this was recommended by my book club. Was I ever pleasantly surprised?! Read morePublished 1 day ago by nancy
It's boring. I didn't finish so I don't know how boring it is but it was boring for as long as I read. Do not buy.Published 12 days ago by W. Jeon
Loved all the poems .. I highly recommend all the poetry lovers .. This is must read .Mr. Collins you are just brilliant .Published 15 days ago by madhurjeet sarghi
Billy Collins poetry is always so down to earth; we can identify.Published 2 months ago by nancy willette
A lovely collection of poetry that kept me wanting more. I'll be back to read more of you, Mr. Collins. I promise.Published 2 months ago by K Grubb
I mean, if you're looking at this, you probably either know of Billy Collins, or are trying to decide if this anthology is a good place to get introduced. Buy the book. It's great.Published 3 months ago by Ian Jones