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The Rain in Portugal: Poems

de Billy Collins

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1998103,183 (3.95)21
"Billy Collin's first new book in three years contains more than forty new poems that showcase the generosity, playfulness, and wisdom that have made him one of our most beloved poets"--

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This is another collection of somewhat lightweight verse, sometimes with a characteristic little turn in the last stanza veering off into some unexpected direction. It isn't the kind of poetry that works on the level of deep life-changing revelations, but more likely quirky little images or ideas which would probably never occur to the reader otherwise. ( )
  rmagahiz | Jul 9, 2020 |
I like Billy Collins even though his poems' last lines often take a vague right turn and bicycle into a parking lot. People who liked their humor and clarity used to suggest I teach his poems to my sixth graders, but they are clear only to adults. Twelve year olds find them more baffling than accessible and they don't see the humor at all. I like his voice, which is exactly like his real voice: candid, plaintive, conversational, erudite, and sarcastic.

This is a nice collection. My method of reading poetry is to do a fast pass through, dog-earing the pages that strike me and returning to read those, unfolding the corners of pages that don't stand up. Then I do a third pass, dog-earing the bottom of the page for those I think are keepers I might want to copy into my personal poem anthology. Three poems in this book made the cut: "Bashō in Ireland," "Child Lost at the Beach," and "Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language." That's a pretty good result. ( )
  dmturner | Jun 29, 2020 |
The Rain in Portugal: New Poems by Billy Collins is the poet's latest collection of poetry. This collection will be available on October 4, 2016. Collins is an American poet. He served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. In his home state, Collins has been recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004.

Collins breaks the stereotype of the stiff and stern poet. His writing is clear and he has a knack for blending the infinite with the common. He is a poet that can drop an f-bomb and not offend anyone. To be fair, though, he rarely uses it. He tells of his black cat whose two yellow circles of her eyes are the only sign that the black blob of an animal is approaching. In departing, he notes, there is only a single circle when her tail is held high. This is something he compares to Paul Revere's lantern. Not one's typical expectation of a national poet laureate.

In "Cosmology" he admits difficulty in the Hindu version of the earth resting on the backs of four elephants. Instead, he envisions the Earth resting on Keith Richards head. Richards with a Marlboro in one hand and a bottle of Jack Daniels in the other keeps the earth spinning and happy by talking about how the blues influenced the Rolling Stones. Collins,also, ponders what the weather would be like the day after he dies and what will happen in the world and in a small Ohio town after his death. "Tanager" presents two images one of wanting a walk in nature and the second the morning news that seems to interfere with the walk -- Man's world vs nature's world.

Collins also presents the bigger picture of things. A lost child on the beach leads to thinking of America’s manifest destiny. A boy’s confusion on why a lobster is black and dark, not red. His writing about the first poem after the death of the English language has a humorous side but also an element of loss. Simple natural things such as biological needs tie directly into the universe in “Under the Stars.”

Collins has an uncanny ability to write poetry that is easy and enjoyable to read. Much of it lies in the open and on the surface with enough under it give it depth. His writing reads easy and smooth taking the reader along effortlessly. Many poets seem to try too hard to make their poetry work. Collins’ words, however, flow naturally even when talking about the rain in Portugal. Another great collection from an American treasure.

( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
I enjoy Billy Collins' poetry for his humor and playfulness, evocative imagery and clear language. This collection was more of the same, though I didn't always connect to the poems themselves, which sometimes just didn't resonate with me for whatever reason and other times the beginning and end were jarringly dissimilar. But his signature style is still present, and as always his poetry is worth reading. ( )
  bell7 | Feb 18, 2018 |
Anytime I can spend time with the words of Billy Collins, life is good. While this wasn't one of my favorites of the many Collins collections I've read, I leave it with a smile and an appreciation of his talent. ( )
  jphamilton | Mar 6, 2017 |
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"Billy Collin's first new book in three years contains more than forty new poems that showcase the generosity, playfulness, and wisdom that have made him one of our most beloved poets"--

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