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From former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins comes a twelfth collection of poetry offering nearly fifty new poems that showcase the generosity, wit, and imaginative play that prompted The Wall Street Journal to call him “America’s favorite poet.”
The Rain in Portugal—a title that admits he’s not much of a rhymer—sheds Collins’s ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. His tones range from the whimsical—“the dogs of Minneapolis . . . / have no idea they’re in Minneapolis”—to the elegiac in a reaction to the death of Seamus Heaney. A student of the everyday, here Collins contemplates a weather vane, a still life painting, the calendar, and a child lost at a beach. His imaginative fabrications have Shakespeare flying comfortably in first class and Keith Richards supporting the globe on his head. By turns entertaining, engaging, and enlightening, The Rain in Portugal amounts to another chorus of poems from one of the most respected and familiar voices in the world of American poetry.
It’s possible that a stitch in time might save as many as twelve or as few as three,
and I have no trouble remembering that September has thirty days.
So do June, November, and April.
I like a cat wearing a chapeau or a trilby,
Little Jack Horner sitting on a sofa,
old men who are not from Nantucket,
and how life can seem almost unreal when you are gently rowing a boat down a stream.
That’s why instead of recalling today that it mostly pours in Spain,
I am going to picture the rain in Portugal,
how it falls on the hillside vineyards,
on the surface of the deep harbors
where fishing boats are swaying,
and in the narrow alleys of the cities where three boys in tee shirts are kicking a soccer ball in the rain,
ignoring the window-cries of their mothers.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.64(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.39(d)|
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
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
Read an Excerpt
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Lucky Cat 5
Only Child 7
The Night of the Fallen Limb 9
Basho in Ireland 12
Not So Still Life 14
Dream Life 18
Hendrik Goltzius's "Icarus" (1588) 20
The Money Note 22
The Bard in Flight 29
Sixteen Years Old, I Help Bring in the Hay on My Uncle John's Farm with Two French-Canadian Workers 35
The Present 36
On Rhyme 41
The Five Spot, 1964 42
Bags of Time 45
One Leg of the Journey 47
A Restaurant in Moscow 49
Muybridge's Lobsters 56
Early Morning 60
Child Lost at the Beach 62
In Praise of Ignorance 64
Microscopic Pants 65
Many Moons 67
Note to J. Alfred Prufrock 69
Speed Walking on August 31, 2013 70
December 1st 71
Under the Stars 79
Mister Shakespeare 81
The Influence of Anxiety: a Term Paper 83
The Day After Tomorrow 87
A Day in May 89
The Lake 91
Solvitur Ambulando 92
Bachelorette Party 96
Oh, Lonesome Me 97
Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language 101
What a Woman Said to Me After a Reading in the Napa Valley 103
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Love this book. Poems filled with wit, humor and those little things that get turned into the profound. Billy Collins poetry makes life good again.