December 7, 2010
Billy Collins and Mom and The Lanyard
A friend sent me this link, a poem I have heard Billy Collins read both in person and in a little all-about-Billy type documentary I recently borrowed from the library. He seems to be a lovely, decent man and he is a wonderful poet. He has been our Poet Laureate for those who don't necessarily follow these things - and in that time created this site, Poetry 180. I love him because he is the poet of life - how we muddle through, how profound things come alongside the morning paper and a cup of coffee.
Poets or wannabe poets who want to make sure everyone understands how startingly original and profound they are, are fond of bashing him at times for not being a poet of depth or talent because he writes poetry that even the common folk can understand (and we all know the common folk know nothing about the depth and beauty of life) Sigh.
I am sure he is ruined by their comments as he considers his Poet Laureate-ness, regards his shelf of well received books, but no, that would be petty and he seems to be a lovely, decent man, (I, on the other hand would be doing just that - take that, you sulky MFAers, I would say, but then I am not talking about my petty leanings at the moment).
Here is The Lanyard, a poem that like many of his poems makes you laugh at the wit even as the significance of the poem moves you to the edge of tears. Perhaps you have to be older to really love his poetry, arriving at that place he seems to have gotten to earlier, where all the tender joys and woes of life converge and you know so much more, are so much more patient, compassionate, wise...and have really bad knees.