Billy Collins – Litany



Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2008/04/07/A_Selection_of_Poems_by_Billy_Collins

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins discusses stealing material from other writers, and reads his poem, “Litany.”

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Poet Billy Collins is a unique literary figure – a widely read contemporary poet. The former US Poet Laureate and New York State Poet has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, though his most dramatic honors come from a wide and appreciative readership. Collins’s poetry collections, including The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, and Picnic, Lightening, have broken records for poetry sales. His writing is marked by inventiveness beyond traditional poetry forms with ironic twists and lyrical turns of phrase that resonate powerfully. An advocate for integrating poetry into everyday life, Collins compiled the anthologies Poetry 180 and 180 More with poems for every day of a typical school year. Billy Collins has been a professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York since 1968 – City Arts & Lectures

Billy Collins is the author of several books of poetry and two anthologies of contemporary poetry, including The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems; The Arts of Drowning, which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall prize; and Questions About Angels, which won the National Poetry Series in 1990. He is also a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College (CUNY). Collins served as US Poet Laureate (2001-2003) and as New York State Poet Laureate (2004-2006). Collins’ poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among many other journals and periodicals. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has won several awards and prizes.

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32 thoughts on “Billy Collins – Litany

  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    I love how he looks so fucking pleased with himself at the end, there. I would be too. Good job, BC, good job.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    I would like to hear this read by Christopher Walken.

    5 ***

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    This is like a photo-bombed Thomas Kinkade painting. Hilarious!

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    Not only is the poem great, but his world-weary delivery is mahvelous.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    If anyone wants to hear a serious (non-comic) modern use of the Petrarchan Conceit, listen to Auden's Funeral Blues. But first make sure you have some tissue handy.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    I grant I never saw a goddess go;/My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:/And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare/As any she belied with false/compare.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    He got this idea from Shakespeare's Sonnet 130: My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;/Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;/If snow be white, why then/her breasts are dun;/If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head./I have seen/roses damask’d, red and white,/But no such roses see I in her cheeks;/And in some perfumes is there more delight/Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks./I love to hear her speak, yet well I know/That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    He stutters too much, slurs words, murmurs, and generally is incomprehensible, no he does not do it better.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    to me this poem isn't funny at all, for me it's more beauty BECAUSE of it's strange comparisons, almost like a nervous lover fumbling for words.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    The text is funny on the surface. I find it hard to miss that. But it is not MERELY funny. The thing turns around Collins' "somehow" in the last line. The somehow indicates that belief survives analysis. But sadly, it does not survive this recitation, which Collins has made MERELY funny.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    You should check out my poetry readng! I think you guys would like it 🙂

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Billy Collins is a god. He is an Olympian and the master of my soul. And body. And I will love him forever. His eyes, everyone! Grr.

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  • August 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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    @ptercottontail I don't think the 3 year old is able to read.

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