Lately it has been Billy Collins, former U.S Poet Laureate.
I don’t open the book every night. Only when I need to touch the play of language, to be entertained by poetry’s taut twists and turns and surprises, before settling into whatever novel I’m reading that will engage me for a half hour or so, then lull me to sleep.
But why Billy Collins? Why for months now has he kept me reaching for his poems?
Of course, there are the double-over-with-laughter poems like “Litany,” which he reads aloud in a deadpan voice that heightens the comedy.
In fact, deadpan is the characteristic voice of Collins’s poetry, a voice that allows him to create fanciful lists, caress details, or slip into a profound understatement, all without ruffling the surface tone of the verse. Humor is his home, and much of the humor is self-effacing. That’s surely part of what draws me to his work. [Read more...]