Billy Collins Pick Me Up

English: Billy Collins at D.G. Wills Books, La...
English: Billy Collins at D.G. Wills Books, La Jolla, San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The title of this post, it should be noted, does not contain a comma. I am not asking Billy Collins to pick me up, though I imagine a car ride with the master would be fantastic. Maybe he’d compose poems out loud about the broken lines in the middle of the road, like enjambed lines of poetry.

Or maybe I should just write that one myself. Yeah, that sounds intriguing. I’ve probably ruined the poem though by talking about it out loud. I recall that being the topic of one of his pieces, from his book Ballistics, maybe?

Basically I am very behind on so many things I need to do, and in need of a pick-me-up post. For that it seemed best to turn to one of my favorite living poets. I was introducing a new friend to Billy Collins the other day and we came across this longer clip on Fora TV. Like TED videos they don’t embed well on WordPress, but it’s worth going to the link, and well worth the thirty second advet at the beginning.

Actually it’s quite excellent and you can skip around on the site using their contents guide. But if you have time to listen straight through, including the question and answer part in the latter half, I think you’ll be happy you did. It’s a great video for introducing a newbie to Mr. Collins.

And for good measure, how about a link to one of my YouTube readings that I did almost three years ago? Billy’s poem “Nightclub” is suddenly getting some new attention on my channel, and despite the poor video quality, I confess I really like my reading in that one. Not something I often say about my own work, but I actually do enjoy watching this one. Here is a night time reading of a favorite Billy Collins poem, and finally one of my favorite blog posts that I’ve done, right here. Enjoy!

A Selection of Poems by Billy Collins from City Arts & Lectures on

9 Comments Add yours

  1. John says:

    I like Billy Collins. I know to some folks the word ‘accessible’ is insulting, but, I find Collins’ poetry to be very accessible. It’s Collins’s poems that made me rethink what I thought I knew about poetry (which wasn’t much, usually just thoughts of how pretentious and confusing it all was).

    One of my favorites, and I’m sorry if I can’t recall the title exactly, is about chopping parsley and listening to someone read “Three Blind Mice”. It was so relatable to me, as I muse about things like that, and often end up with tears in my eyes.

    Hope you have a fantastic holiday!


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Yes, he’s been criticized for that, but it’s exactly what I love about him. Thing is, his poems may be accessible, but they are not shallow at all. There is a brand of poet who prides himself/herself on soul-less, impersonal, gutless philosophy in their poetry. If you have to pick up a dictionary, or look up a lot of references to understand the poem, they might still be disappointed that you understood it. I hate that kind of thing. If it has no soul, to me it is not poetry at all.

      Here is the only video I could find of Billy reading the poem you are talking about. 🙂


  2. Just got to work after a slow and snowy drive. I wish I could watch this right now—but alas, the open workspace inhibits. I wish I’d had Billy or you with me in the car through the white knuckle slipping and sliding!


    1. sonofwalt says:

      eeek! Glad you got home alright! Check out the video when you have time, preferably with a glass of holiday cheer. It’ll be worth it. 🙂


  3. Just listened. Thanks again. A great way to start my day today. Now imagining a mouse in my walls with a match clenched in its teeth 🙂


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