Thursday, March 02, 2017

Billy Friday

Photo courtesy of: Marcelo Noah, of D.G. Wills Books
and WikiMedia Commons

Heidi Mordhorst, this week's Poetry Friday host, is having an all-Billy Birthday Extravaganza. It's a Collins-fest, an All-Billy-All-The-Time post, a Billy Collins Friday...Huzzah!

Heidi encouraged everyone to post a favorite Collins poem. Of course, it's impossible to choose just one favorite Collins poem. I am practically paralyzed by the proposal. I was going to share that painfully cute little boy reciting "Litany" because that's definitely one of my favorites. But Heidi had the same great idea (do go listen to him), so I am on to something else. Should I choose "Marginalia"? "Passengers"? "Today"? What about "Aimless Love"? Or maybe "Books." What about "Morning"? I love that one so much.

(Don't make me choose!)

Deep breath.

Okay, so, this one is not necessarily my favorite Billy Collins poem. Really, naming a favorite would be akin to saying I have a favorite child, just impossible. But I love this poem almost as much as I love my three favorite children. (That's hyperbole, by the way, for anyone scandalized by the idea that I love a poem as much as I love my offspring. Hyperbole is one of my favorite words -- don't ask me, though, to choose just one favorite word.)

I think I forgot what the point of this post was.

What was it? Oh, yes.


I had forgotten how much I love it.

by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

(Read the whole thing here, at



Tabatha said...

I loved this student's reading of it: (I think I saw him do it in person, but I can't remember...)

tanita✿davis said...

I knew this was a celebration that would do it for you. Happy Billy Friday!

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

One of my favorites, Karen! Although, on second thought, perhaps I've never read it before... ;)

Karen Edmisten said...

Tabatha, thanks for that! I loved his recitation of it.

Tanita, yeah, I'm an open poetry book when it comes to Collins.

Matt, who are you? Have we met? ;)

jama said...

Yes, I like this one, only I can't remember when I first read it or where. :)
Happy Billy Day; I thought of you right away when I heard about what Heidi was doing.

P.S. a little birdie tells me you may have won a book giveaway . . .

Karen Edmisten said...

Jama, I was just visiting your place and saw that I'd won Elaine's book. How delightful! Thank you!

You know me well - yes, I was delighted by Heidi's Billy theme. :)

And isn't it lovely that we can all be so forgetful together?

Ruth said...

I love this one so much that I shared it myself once: Great choice! :-D

Mary Lee said...

I love this one so much!

I love that The Writer's Almanac had a Billy Collins poem today!

I cheated on the "pick one favorite" by using lines from half a dozen in an original "found poem" made from his words!

jan godown annino said...

Appreciations Karen. I am also partial to "Marginalia."

In our family it looks as if two older relatives
are perhaps getting too,
too, more than normal forgetful,
& one dear heart is already
diagnosed with a dementia,
so reading
"Forgetfulness" is poignant.

Not to mention my own mind like- a - sieve.

Karen Edmisten said...

Ruth, I wondered if anyone else would share this one. :)

Mary Lee, I am headed over to your place to take a look right now.

Jan, my mind definitely feels like a sieve these days, too, but in all seriousness, I am so sorry to hear about your family members who are dealing with dementia and the fear of its onset, too.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Billy Collins poem Ruth, what was it called, oh yes, Thanks for "Forgetfulness!"

Heidi Mordhorst said...

So happy to make you happy, Karen!

This might have been one of the first BC poems I got to know, and I'll admit, at that time, a younger me didn't really get what he was on about. So nice to encounter it again when I can truly appreciate it! :P

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

I do remember this one with delight that I am not the only one. Who forgets with drama and poetry.

GatheringBooks said...

I know what you mean about being hard pressed to find a favourite. He is quite the poet, Billy Collins is.