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Billy Collins

Creative Writing

Gene Hampden

on 19 May 2011

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Transcript of Billy Collins

Billy Collins "It seems like only yesterday I used to believe there was nothing under my skin but light. If you cut me I would shine but now when I fall upon the sidewalk of life, I skin my knees. I bleed."
— Billy Collins (Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry) "A sentence starts out like a lone traveler heading into a blizzard at midnight, tilting into the wind, one arm shielding his face, the tails of his thin coat flapping behind him." "All they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with a rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means." "The mind can be trained to relieve itself on paper." "A motto I've adopted is, if at first you don't succeed, hide all evidence that you ever tried." Collins fourth book, Questions About Angels, brought him into the spotlight First 3 books
Pokerface (1977)
Video Poems (1980)
The apple That Astonished Paris (1988) Published in 1991 1977 1988 1991 1995 1998 2001 2002 2005 2006 2008 Billy Collins style of poetry is often, witty and conversational. He uses poems in a humorous way in order to get a point across. Billy Collins Writing Technique John Updike describes Billy Collins poetry "lovely...limpid and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, They describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides" John Taylor noted that Collins poetry
"Helps us feel the mystery in being alive" John Taylor also said "Rarely has anyone written poems that seems so transparent on the surface yet so ambiguous, thought-provoking, and simply wise once the reader has peered into the depths By: Gene Hampden-Comrie Collins's has had his poetry appear in anthologies, textbooks, and periodicals His poems have made it in the following periodicals American Poetry
American Scholar
Paris Review
The New Yorker Lives In Somers, New York
And is an English Professor at Lehman College Billy Collins was born in New York in 1941 He earned a Bachelors of Arts from the college of Holy Cross
Earned an MA and PhD from the university of California-Riverside Has recieved fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts He was chosen to serve as a "Literary lion" by the New York Public Library in 1992 In 2001 he served as the U.S. Poet Laureate Awards and Recognitions Period: First With Ms.Gmyenglishteacher Has held workshops in Ireland Not alot is known about his childhood Son of William and Kathy Colliins Billy Collins received his love of poetry from his mother, she was a nurse who stopped working to take care of young Billy. She recited poetry often, and taught her son to do the same, this is where he found his love for spoken word Not only in church
and nightly by their bedsides
do young girls pray these days

Wherever they go,
prayer is woven into their talk
like a bright thread of awe

Even at the pedestrian mall
outbursts of praise
spring unbidden from their glossy lips Oh, My God I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you--not one bit. The Revenant Themes When Billy Collins writes, I can't find any particular theme
He seems to write about anything
He usually writes about simple things and turns them into complex thoughts, that you yourself must sit and wonder about. And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets. I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice" The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius. Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House Or was it a common accident, all three caught
in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
If not,
if each came to his or her blindness separately, how did they ever manage to find one another?
Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
let alone two other blind ones? And how, in their tiny darkness,
could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
or anyone else's wife for that matter?
Not to mention why. Just so she could cut off their tails
with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
but the thought of them without eyes
and now without tails to trail through the moist grass or slip around the corner of a baseboard
has the cynic who always lounges within me
up off his couch and at the window
trying to hide the rising softness that he feels. By now I am on to dicing an onion
which might account for the wet stinging
in my own eyes, though Freddie Hubbard's
mournful trumpet on "Blue Moon," which happens to be the next cut,
cannot be said to be making matters any better. When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap. I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand. I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and--greatest of insults--shake hands without a hand. I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched. You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives. he jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls. While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl. Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner--
that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose. Works cited for broadside

"YouTube - BILLY COLLINS Interview.mov." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOW6mYzdwtk>.

"YouTube - "Child Development" by Billy Collins (poetry Reading)." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vs9Of-7FQI>.

"Billy Collins : The Poetry Foundation." Poetry Foundation. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/billy-collins>.

"Billy Collins: Biography from Answers.com." Answers.com: Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://www.answers.com/topic/billy-collins>.

Collins, Billy. Questions about Angels: Poems. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1999. Print.
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