Billy Collins

Quotes: Billy Collins

Quotes 1 till 15 of 43.

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  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
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    A lasting marriage, they say, is one where the two reach for different sections of the Sunday paper. Me, I go right for the obituaries, just like those very elderly characters in Muriel Spark's spooky novel, 'Memento Mori.'
  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
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    A lot of my poems either have historical sequences or other kinds of chronological grids where I'm locating myself in time. I like to feel oriented, and I like to orient the reader at the beginning of a poem.
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    Billy Collins
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    Attempts to put my poems to music have had disastrous results in all cases. And the poem, if it's written with the ear, already has been set to its own verbal music as it was composed.
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    Cummings' career as a writer - and a painter - was as wobbly as his love life. He tried his hand at playwriting, satirical essays, and even a dance scenario for Lincoln Kirsten.
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    Discovering Samuel Beckett in college was a big deal for me. I realized you could be very funny and very dark at the same time.
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    Emily Dickinson never developed. She remained loyal to her persona and to that same little metrical song that stood her in such good stead. She is a striking example of complexity within a simple package. Her rhymes are like bows on the package.
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    Emily Dickinson seems rather tame because she pretty much uses the same meter every time. It's called 'common meter.' It's a line of four beats that's followed by a line of three beats.
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    For most Americans, poetry plays no role in their everyday lives. But also for most Americans, contemporary painting or jazz or sculpture play no role either. I'm not saying poetry is singled out as a special thing to ignore.
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    Humor, for me, is really a gate of departure. It's a way of enticing a reader into a poem so that less funny things can take place later. It really is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
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    If an artist is driven primarily by social responsibility, I think the art probably suffers because, again, just as leadership has a rather defined end point or purpose, social responsibility would seem to have a very clear moral context.
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    If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you're simply using a pen to record what you have thought out. In a poem, the pen is more like a flashlight, a Geiger counter, or one of those metal detectors that people walk around beaches with.
  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
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    It is important for the poet not to be emotional because you cannot see the world clearly with tears in your eyes.
    Source: Interview with Kritya: In the Name of Poetry
  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
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    Listeners are kind of ambushed... if a poem just happens to be said when they're listening to the radio. The listener doesn't have time to deploy what I call their 'poetry deflector shields' that were installed in high school - there's little time to resist the poem.
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    Billy Collins
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    My persona is less miserable than a lot of contemporary poetry speakers are.
  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
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    My poems tend to have rhetorical structures; what I mean by that is they tend to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There tends to be an opening, as if you were reading the opening chapter of a novel. They sound like I'm initiating something, or I'm making a move.
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