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Sailing Alone around the Room: New and Selected Poems
     

Sailing Alone around the Room: New and Selected Poems

4.3 50
by Billy Collins
 

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Sailing Alone Around the Room, by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, contains both new poems and a generous gathering from his earlier collections The Apple That Astonished Paris, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. These poems show Collins at his best, performing the kinds of distinctive

Overview

Sailing Alone Around the Room, by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, contains both new poems and a generous gathering from his earlier collections The Apple That Astonished Paris, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. These poems show Collins at his best, performing the kinds of distinctive poetic maneuvers that have delighted and fascinated so many readers. They may begin in curiosity and end in grief; they may start with irony and end with lyric transformation; they may, and often do, begin with the everyday and end in the infinite. Possessed of a unique voice that is at once plain and melodic, Billy Collins has managed to enrich American poetry while greatly widening the circle of its audience.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com editor
No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with broad popular appeal as successfully as 2001-2003 U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. From four earlier collections, Collins offers some of his best, most memorable works.
John Updike
Billy Collins writes lovely poems—lovely in a way almost nobody's since Roethke's are. Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.
New York Times
Luring his readers into the poem with humor, Mr. Collins leads them unwittingly into deeper, more serious places, a kind of journey from the familiar or quirky to unexpected territory, sometimes tender, often profound.
New Yorker
What Collins does best is turn an apparently simple phrase into a numinous moment. . . . A poet of plenitude, irony, and Augustan grace.
KLIATT
Collins' extremely popular collection is finally available in paperback. Considering its success in hardcover, this edition is a sure-fire hit at a more attractive price. Collins' selection as America's Poet Laureate served as a public acknowledgment of his position in the contemporary poetry scene, but it also enhanced his popularity through exposure and this collection of his best work is a treasure. Collins' work is enormously appealing. It is comprehensible, universal, clever, original and perceptive. His humor, so pervasive in his public readings, is accessible on the page and his ability to build a poem from the mundane observation to the unexpected and insightful conclusion through shifting scope and focus is unmatched. His approach is unique in its disarming familiarity, its unabashed honesty. For example, Collins opens his poem "Fishing on the Susquehanna in July" with the lines, "I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna / or any river for that matter / to be perfectly honest. / Not in July or any month...." And he ends his poem "Budapest" with "...while I gaze out the window and imagine Budapest / or some other city where I have never been." Both Collins and his work are at once charming and significant. This is the best of the best, a "must" for any serious collection of contemporary American poetry. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Random House, 172p.,
— James Beschta
Library Journal
This new volume from the newly appointed poet laureate of the United States has survived the publishing rights war between Random House and the University of Pittsburgh Press. The wait has been well worth it. The surface structure of these poems appears simplistic, but subtle changes in tone or gesture move the reader from the mundane to the sublime. In an attempt to sleep, the speaker in "Insomnia" moves from counting sheep to envisioning Noah's arc to picturing "all the fish in creation/ leaping a fence in a field of water,/ one colorful species after another." Collins will tackle any topic: his subject matter varies from snow days to Aristotle to forgetfulness. The results are accessible but not trite, comical but not laughable, and well crafted but not overly flamboyant. Collins relies heavily on imagery, which becomes the cornerstone of the entire volume, and his range of diction brings such a polish to these poems that the reader is left feeling that this book "once opened, can never be closed." This volume belongs in everyone's library; highly recommended. Tim Gavin, Episcopa Acad., Merion, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“What Collins does best is turn an apparently simple phrase into a numinous moment.”
The New Yorker

“It is difficult not to be charmed by Collins, and that in itself is a remarkable literary accomplishment.”
The New York Review of Books

“A brilliant comic sally...a wonderful, sly, and moving collection.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“[Collins] takes the mundane thing and shows you its mystery. And he takes the mysterious and strips it naked.”
The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307431745
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/10/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
548,664
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

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From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Billy Collins has published six collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He teaches at Lehman College of the City University of New York and at Sarah Lawrence College and was recently appointed named the U.S. Poet Laureate.


From the Hardcover edition.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Somers, New York
Date of Birth:
March 22, 1941
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
B.A., Holy Cross College, 1963; Ph.D. in Romantic poetry, University of California at Riverside, 1971

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Sailing Alone around the Room: New and Selected Poems 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
SirJahUso More than 1 year ago
Billy Collins has truly mastered the art of the English Language. He somehow discovers a new and exciting way to masterfully describe in vivid detail the experiences many of us can only dream of having. What an amazing body of work. I especially loved "Advice to Writers", which gave me insight into how to become a better writer myself. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Mr. Collins for your insightful observations. You are the prime time example of what it means to be an everyman. I can't wait until the follow up of Ballistics!
CBellSG More than 1 year ago
Delving into Billy Collins' poetry is akin to sampling the treats at a sumptuous buffet. There is something for every taste, and each morsel provides a delightful moment - some humorous, some mellow, some insightful, others spicey and piquant. Like the master chef who makes boning a whole chicken while leaving it all intact, Collins makes it all look so easy. "Oh, I could have written this," you think. But you didn't. And when you try, you realize just how difficult good writing really is. I keep my copy of this book by my bed and when I need a little before-bed treat, I browse around the book and before I know it, it is well past midnight and my eyelids are heavy. But I am smiling as I turn out the light.
grace45 More than 1 year ago
if you love to laugh and marvel at beautiful insights into the everyday world, then you will love this book. billy's poetry is accessible and clever. you never find yourself wondering, "what is he talking about."
The_Artful_Podger More than 1 year ago
The comfortable, intelligent humor stays with you, the observations are accessible and thought provoking. Especially good when read aloud to/by friends -- even non-poetry types.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Love this one....I also found a couple free animated Collins poems online, too - The Dead and Forgetfulness. Definitely check them out. If you go to video.google.com and search for Billy Collins you'll see them. Pretty cool animation and it's Billy himself reading. I think they're on youtube.com, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Collins has got to be the best politian in the literary world. His poetry is mundane and thoughtless. In order for Collins to be appointed Poet Laureate of America, he has got to be doing a lot of baby kissing and sucking up to the powers that be. For those who read Collins' work, they must be as bored to tears as I was to even pick up this book. Instead of Billy Collins, I highly reccomend Timothy Edward Jones' book 'European Confession.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Collins has....it! The turn of a phrase, the volta, the conclusion, the imagery, are all here, in every line. In my opinion, most poets today try, but simply cannot manage blank verse; most poets today are unreadable. Collins, however, is infinitely enjoyable, always current, and definitely perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Too many modern poets have abandoned the integrity of the art for a kind of lackluster, populist prose with poetic form. Billy Collins is above the riff raff, and solidly defends his right to have been the Poet Laureate with his superior wordsmanship and craft.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Saw the interview with Billy Collins on 60 Minutes this week and was intrigued. Just like a child, I couldn't wait to order on-line and listen for the mail person a few days or week later to deliver the book. I was in the mall that day..huh!...and there on the shelf this magical paperback was sitting...waiting...now devoured like the chocolate eclair icecream delivered by the Good Humor man....ummmmm good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written book! It was a passport to inner adventure for me, personally. I felt completely at home, with the poet's rhythm and human presence... I thank him, for the wonderful mirror, he has provided. Indeed.