Reading Billy

Hi everyone,

As some of you know, I enjoy the work of former U.S. and New York State Poet Laureate, BILLY COLLINS. Last night I sat in the office and read a dozen or so poems from a newly acquired copy of his book, THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL, published in 2017 by Random House. I don’t like every poem Collins writes equally well. That’s true of any other poet’s work, including my own. I don’t like every song written equally well, or every painting painted, or every potato grown.

Greatness is not diminished when an artist fails to achieve his best. Genius doesn’t have to prove itself more than once. Last night I read with pleasure twelve Collins poem, pausing to taste each one and wonder at his choice of words and cadence to create the images he cast. Then there it was, the reminder of why he is who he is. On pages 22-23: “The Money Note,” that high note “at the tip of a scale” that few can achieve, be they singers or poets of both. I stopped reading and went to bed full.

5 comments on “Reading Billy

  1. I love that comment of yours, that “Genius doesn’t have to prove itself more than once.” I agree with your assessment that not every poem, song, book, or other creative endeavor needs to be as groundbreakingly stunning as the one before it. We all have individual tastes, after all, so what I might find astounding and life-altering you might find utterly forgetable. Glad you enjoyed the book, though!

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