Before I read this collection, I had a deep and long-standing aversion to free verse poetry. Here, Billy Collins shows that it is possible for free verse to be truly beautiful and inspiring, as well as humorous and entertaining. In "The Lanyard," on page 45, he describes the feelings of a young boy giving his mother a lanyard made at summer camp. "Eastern Standard Time," on page 23, is addressed to "only those in my own time zone / this proper slice of longitude / that runs from pole to snowy pole / down the globe through Montreal to Bogota." In the title poem of the collection, on page 83, he tells us that "the trouble with poetry is / that is encourages the writing of more poetry, / more guppies crowding the fish tank . . ." Making the reader want to laugh and cry by turns, this book is a gem.
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