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The Apple That Astonished Paris: Poems by…
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The Apple That Astonished Paris: Poems by Billy Collins (Original 1988; 1988. Auflage)

von Billy Collins

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244286,276 (4.02)14
In 1988, the University of Arkansas Press published Billy Collins' ""The Apple That Astonished Paris"", his ""first real book of poems,"" as he describes it in a new, delightful preface written expressly for this new printing to help celebrate both the Press' twenty-fifth anniversary and this book, one of the Press' all-time best sellers. In his usual witty and dry style, Collins writes, ""I gathered together what I considered my best poems and threw them in the mail."" After ""what seemed like a very long time"" Press director Miller Williams, a poet as well, returned the poems to him in the ""familiar self-addressed, stamped envelope."" He told Collins that there was good work here but that there was work to be done before he'd have a real collection he and the Press could be proud of: ""Williams' words were more encouragement than I had ever gotten before and more than enough to inspire me to begin taking my writing more seriously than I had before."" This collection includes some of Collins' most anthologized poems, including ""Introduction to Poetry,"" ""Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House,"" and ""Advice to Writers."" Its success over the years is testament to Collins' talent as one of our best poets, and as he writes in the preface, ""this new edition...is a credit to the sustained vibrancy of the University of Arkansas Press and, I suspect, to the abiding spirit of its former director, my first editorial father.… (mehr)
Mitglied:kbuxton
Titel:The Apple That Astonished Paris: Poems by Billy Collins
Autoren:Billy Collins
Info:University of Arkansas Press (1988), Paperback
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek, Gelesen, aber nicht im Besitz
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Tags:poetry, read, no longer owned

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The Apple That Astonished Paris: Poems by Billy Collins von Billy Collins (1988)

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Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

I rarely read a book of poetry, and my taste runs more to Rudyard Kipling than most modern poetry. However, when I learned this book included a poem on etymology (something of a pleasure for me), I undertook to explore Billy Collins’ poetry.

What I discovered was articulate and evocative description to delight and surprise me. His ability to capture a place, time, or mood is significant, and I believe I enjoyed every one of the poems in the first section “Away,” though some connected with me more than others.

The second section, “Home,” frustrated me though.

Again, the description is written with a talented hand, the moments firmly captured so they unfold in front of me. And yet, in this same section is a dismissal of every reader’s experience, every moment of connection or understanding, as over-thinking. The poem, titled “Introduction to Poetry,” rails against the look for deeper meaning in poetry, a common refrain, and one I can sympathize with even as I reject the premise. But then, this is me finding meaning, so would most likely be dismissed as “beating it with a hose.” Or perhaps he’d consider I understood this poem perfectly, while rejecting the other meanings that tore me from his description and broke the connection I’d found.

My issue with several of the poems in “Home” is how they reveal him a result of rather than a commentator on society. “Child Development” is a wonderful, perceptive understanding of both childhood and the strictures put on people in the name of maturity that deny our actual experience or bury it deep where it springs forth in unreasoned anger or self-destructive behavior.

Then, having built that expectation, I get to “Earthling” where, in a few, short stanzas, Collins manages to connect with shared experience and then reject that experience and every person who does not fall into the “norm” who can revel in being perfectly adapted. Sure, it can be interpreted as him saying to be happy with who you are. However, he makes a point of establishing the personal happiness in the context of someone who is “average” while using those descriptive skills to point out the “other than average” nature of those who are not well suited, in his opinion of their opinion, for Earth.

There’s no apparent awareness of the underlying message that is weighed down with social convention and denying anyone who stands outside that norm. There are other poems in the collection with the same type of message, so disappointing when so much of the poetry is communal with shared experiences presented vividly.

Ultimately, I’d recommend reading Billy Collins’ poetry for his clear understanding of the English language and his ability to paint pictures in so few words by choosing the one detail that the majority of readers will have experienced, if not in the place where Collins’ refers to it. That is the strength of his poetry, and well worth experiencing. However, be aware that he is a product of his society, and when not directly intending a commentary, the commentary he offers is one of conformity. ( )
  MarFisk | Jan 10, 2016 |
Such a slim, unassuming little book of poetry! Who knew it would pack a punch of powerful words neatly disguised in short and sweet poems? I have decided Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets. His poetry is not pretentious. It's within reach; a drinking buddy; a lovable troublemaker disguised in a string of words. There is wild imagination (walking across water and thinking of what the fish below see), seriousness (a former teacher looks back on the "community" of students he has taught), nostalgic (remembering a Tuscany vacation), clever (questioning Basque language), humorous (Smokey the Bear is fed up with warning tourists about forest fires) and moving (how cancer is a bad word). Each poem is about a page long or less. Short enough to read again and again. Let the words soak in and open your mind to fun poetry. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 29, 2009 |
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In 1988, the University of Arkansas Press published Billy Collins' ""The Apple That Astonished Paris"", his ""first real book of poems,"" as he describes it in a new, delightful preface written expressly for this new printing to help celebrate both the Press' twenty-fifth anniversary and this book, one of the Press' all-time best sellers. In his usual witty and dry style, Collins writes, ""I gathered together what I considered my best poems and threw them in the mail."" After ""what seemed like a very long time"" Press director Miller Williams, a poet as well, returned the poems to him in the ""familiar self-addressed, stamped envelope."" He told Collins that there was good work here but that there was work to be done before he'd have a real collection he and the Press could be proud of: ""Williams' words were more encouragement than I had ever gotten before and more than enough to inspire me to begin taking my writing more seriously than I had before."" This collection includes some of Collins' most anthologized poems, including ""Introduction to Poetry,"" ""Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House,"" and ""Advice to Writers."" Its success over the years is testament to Collins' talent as one of our best poets, and as he writes in the preface, ""this new edition...is a credit to the sustained vibrancy of the University of Arkansas Press and, I suspect, to the abiding spirit of its former director, my first editorial father.

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