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“The Most Popular Poet in America”. Jack Doyle Erin Morris Brad F ortunato. Billy Collins . Background. Born- New York C ity on March 22, 1941 Son of W illiam and Katherine William- electrician Katherine- nurse. Background. college of Holy Cross university of California

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jack doyle erin morris brad f ortunato

“The Most Popular Poet in America”

Jack Doyle

Erin Morris

Brad Fortunato

Billy Collins

  • Born- New York City on March 22, 1941
  • Son of William and Katherine
  • William- electrician
  • Katherine- nurse
  • college of Holy Cross
  • university of California
  • Awarded
  • normal life as a professor at Lehman university of the City University of New York.
  • Appointed as poet laureate
i nfluences
  • Everyday life

No Time

By Billy Collins

In a rush this weekday morning,

I tap the horn as I speed past the cemetery

where my parents are buried

side by side beneath a slab of smooth granite.

Then, all day, I think of him rising up

to give me that look

of knowing disapproval

while my mother calmly tells him to lie back down.

  • Suburban, middle class
  • other poets
  • Others poems
  • The New Poetry book
  • nature
i nfluences other poets
influences-other poets

Memorizing “The Sun Rising” by John Donne


Every reader loves the way he tells off

the sun, shouting busy old fool

into the English skies even though they

were likely cloudy on that seventeenth-century morning.

And it’s a pleasure to spend this sunny day

But after a few steps into stanza number two,

wherein the sun is blinded by his mistress’s eyes,

I can feel the first one begin to fade

like sky-written letters on a windy day.

And by the time I have taken in the third,

the second is likewise gone, a blown-out candle now,

a wavering line of acrid smoke.

So it’s not until I leave the house

and walk three times around this hidden lake

that the poem begins to show

any interest in walking by my side.

Then, after my circling,

better than the courteous dominion

of her being all states and him all princes,

better than love’s power to shrink

the wide world to the size of a bedchamber,

and better even than the compression

of all that into the rooms of these three stanzas

is how, after hours stepping up and down the poem,

testing the plank of every line,

it goes with me now, contracted into a little spot within.

i nfluences1
  • his life isn’t very exciting.
  • poems as an escape.
  • uses humor, transport himself
  • Aristotle

Today by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,so uplifted by a warm intermittent breezethat it made you want to throwopen all the windows in the houseand unlatch the door to the canary's cage,indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,a day when the cool brick pathsand the garden bursting with peoniesseemed so etched in sunlightthat you felt like takinga hammer to the glass paperweighton the living room end table,releasing the inhabitantsfrom their snow-covered cottageso they could walk out,holding hands and squintinginto this larger dome of blue and white,well, today is just that kind of day.

literary criticism positive
Literary Criticism-Positive
  • “uses humor to lead the reader into the place, often a serious and surprising place”
  • “Collins often uses an abstract title which he subsequently explores in a variety of concrete images”
  • John Taylor Says “His humor often seems simply a means, a invitation to serious reflection”
  • “some examples of playful imagination”
literary criticism negative
Literary Criticism-negative
  • “seems to have been written in code”
  • “Collins technique produces poems that evoke no emotional response from the reader”
  • “He makes readers believe that the only way to approach a poem is to ‘tie it to a chair with a rope and torture a confession out of it’”
  • “We seem to always know where we are in a Billy Collins poem, but not where he is going”


by Billy Collins

Billy Collins There is no noisier place than the suburbs,

someone once said to me

as we were walking along a fairway,

and every day is delighted to offer fresh evidence:

the chainsaw, the leaf-blower blowing

one leaf around an enormous house with columns,

on Mondays and Thursdays the garbage truck

equipped with air brakes, reverse beeper, and merciless grinder.

There’s dogs, hammers, backhoes

or serious earthmovers if today is not your day.

How can the birds get a peep

or a chirp in edgewise, I would like to know?

But this morning is different,

only a soft clicking sound

and the low talk of two workmen working

on the house next door, laying tile I am guessing.

Otherwise, all quiet for a change,

just the clicking of tiles being handled

and their talking back and forth in Spanish

then one of them asking in English

“What was her name?” and the silence of the other.

thank you for listening
Thank You for listening

Billy Collins has made and continues to make numerous contributions to modern poetry