Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Trouble With Billy Collins

Former US poet laureate Billy Collins' latest work, The Trouble with Poetry, is slammed by Elizabeth Lund in the Christian Science Monitor:

"There's little spark or imagination as he muses about literary history, savors a beautiful day, or recalls going to a friend's house and finding no one there. Perhaps to compensate for lack of inspiration, Collins returns to well-trodden ground or overanalyzes."

Be that as it may, one will always be delighted by his earlier Sonnet:

All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here wile we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.


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