In Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry, Wendy Bishop states that “contemporary poets prefer rhyme that doesn’t call attention to itself; concrete, particular images; and conversational… language.” Since starting a course in contemporary poetry, I’ve been intrigued by Billy Collins’ poems. They epitomize the “unexpected phrases and strong sensory details” that Bishop includes in her characteristics of contemporary poetry.
See or hear Collins read his poems by clicking on the following links:
I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey’s Version of ‘Three Blind’ Mice
Some Days (animated)
Walking Across the Atlantic (animated)
Now and Then (animated)
The Trouble With Poetry
I received a Billy Collins book as a gift, but I can’t get into it, although I tried. Here is some good discussion of Collins at my favorite poetry blog:
Hi Drew. Thanks for your note.
My class was quite divided – those who loved Collins’ poems adored him while others were quite cool to his work. I gained a new appreciation for his poems after the course and the work we did around analyzing and interpreting them.