“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. B.A.- college of Holy Cross
“The Most Popular Poet in America” Jack Doyle Erin Morris Brad Fortunato Billy Collins
Background • Born- New York City on March 22, 1941 • Son of William and Katherine • William- electrician • Katherine- nurse
Background • B.A.- college of Holy Cross • M.A. & P.H.D. – university of California • Won many different awards including poet of the year
Background • Leads a normal life in as a professor at Lehman university of the City University of New York. • Appointed as poet laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003
influences • Made suburban and for the middle class • Used other poets examples to find himself • Others poems influenced him • The New Poetry book got him into poetry • Influenced by nature
influences-other poets • George Herbert, William Wordsworth, and John Donne. Memorizing “The Sun Rising” by John Donne BY BILLY COLLINS 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.
influences • His poems convey the fact that his life isn’t very exciting. • Bored as a child so he used his poems as an escape. • Tried to use humor, and transport himself to different places. • Exposed to these poems as a child
influences • Aristotle influences his work
influences • Everyday life influences his poems 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.
Poem- suburbs and nature influence him Her BY 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. “ Canada by Billy Collins “I am writing this on a strip of white birch bark that I cut from a tree with a penknife. There is no other way to express adequately the immensity of the clouds that are passing over the farms and wooded lakes of Ontario and the endless visibility that hands you the horizon on a platter. I am also writing this in a wooden canoe, a point of balance in the middle of Lake Couchiching, resting the birch bark against my knees. I can feel the sun’s hands on my bare back, but I am thinking of winter”
Literary Criticism • John Taylor Says “His humor often seems simply a means, a invitation to serious reflection” • We did find this in his poems, funny leading to serious • “some examples of playful imagination” • You can tell in these poems that Collins is letting his imagination run wild
Literary Criticism-Positive • “uses humor to lead the reader into the place, often a serious and surprising place” • We found that the only type of humor in his poems is irony • “Collins often uses an abstract title which he subsequently explores in a variety of concrete images” • This is very true- we found that the title was only loosely connected to the poem itself
Literary Criticism-negative • “seems to have been written in code” • Seems clear but we understand why the critics said this because his speech patterns are so random • “Collins technique produces poems that evoke no emotional response from the reader” • We tend to agree with this statement we don’t feel any emotional attachment to any of the things in the poem
Literary criticism • “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’” • Its hard to just skim his poems- you have to really dig down and analyze them. • “We seem to always know where we are in a Billy Collins poem, but not where he is going” • Billy Collins doesn’t follow one set format- he just speaks what is on his mind
Thank You for listening Billy Collins has made and continues to make numerous contributions to modern poetry