The Trouble with Poetry, by Billy Collins

The Trouble with Poetry

So it’s Tuesday. How about a Poetry Tuesday, just for old time’s sake?

I’ve had this collection of poetry on my shelves for a couple of years. I’ve loved Billy Collins since undergrad, when I found out about his Poetry 180 project. I pulled The Trouble with Poetry off of the shelf and put it by my bed in June when I resolved to read one poem a night. (Until then I never noticed that my copy is signed!) If I do say so myself, I have done pretty well with my resolution. I found it to be an enjoyable way to end the day.

I also found this collection to be delightful. My two favorite poems in the collection were “Flock” and “The Flying Notebook.” The major underlying theme was writing and poetic thought. The title poem is the second-to-last in the collection and laments:

The trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry . . . .

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world.

Collins makes dozens of delightful comparisons within his poems. All of Collins’s poetry is written in free verse, which means no rhyming, and all of the language is very readable and almost conversational. Collins does an amazing job at evoking feelings and creating scenes with approachable language. I would recommend this to even the casual reader of poetry.

The Trouble with Poetry, by Billy Collins [rating:4]