Picnic, Lightning

Picnic Lightning Winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize Over the past decade Billy Collins has emerged as the most beloved American poet since Robert Frost garnering critical acclaim and broad popular appeal Annie

  • Title: Picnic, Lightning
  • Author: Billy Collins
  • ISBN: 9780822956709
  • Page: 408
  • Format: Paperback
  • Winner of the 1999 Paterson Poetry Prize Over the past decade, Billy Collins has emerged as the most beloved American poet since Robert Frost, garnering critical acclaim and broad popular appeal Annie Proulx admits, I have never before felt possessive about a poet, but I am fiercely glad that Billy Collins is ours John Updike proclaims his poems consistently startlingWinner of the 1999 Paterson Poetry Prize Over the past decade, Billy Collins has emerged as the most beloved American poet since Robert Frost, garnering critical acclaim and broad popular appeal Annie Proulx admits, I have never before felt possessive about a poet, but I am fiercely glad that Billy Collins is ours John Updike proclaims his poems consistently startling, serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides This special, limited edition celebrates Billy Collins s years as U.S Poet Laureate Picnic, Lightning one of the books that helped establish and secure his reputation and popularity during the 1990s combines humor and seriousness, wit and sublimity His poems touch on a wide range of subjects, from jazz to death, from weather to sex, but share common ground where the mind and heart can meet Whether reading him for the first time or the fiftieth, this collector s edition is a must have for anyone interested in the poet the New York Times calls simply the real thing.

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    One thought on “Picnic, Lightning”

    1. Some DaysSome days I put the people in their places at the table,bend their legs at the knees,if they come with that feature,and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.All afternoon they face one another,the man in the brown suit,the woman in the blue dress,perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.But other days, I am the onewho is lifted up by the ribs, then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouseto sit with the others at the long table.Very funny,but how would you like itif you never knew fro [...]

    2. Here's one of my favourite poems from this collection:MarginaliaBilly CollinsSometimes the notes are ferocious,skirmishes against the authorraging along the borders of every pagein tiny black script.If I could just get my hands on you,Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,they seem to say,I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -“Nonsense.” “Please!” “HA!!” -that kind of thing.I remember once looking up from my reading,my [...]

    3. Billy Collins is my favorite poet. Reading his books are truly an incredible experience. He transforms simple, common occurances and images into a quiet,vivid, transcending experience. His works give you a deep appreciation for life-all you have experienced and all you have yet to. I LOVE HIS COLLECTION!

    4. I'll say this up front and with all due respect. If you do not care for poetry, don't review it with one star. Simply don't review it at all. I don't know the first thing about engineering; I don't take the time to read engineering books, then drone on about how dull and inexplicable their content is and pan them.That being said - I know a lot of contemporary poets tend to rail against Collins for what I can only assume is the fact that he is popular and they are not. I find his work hit-or-miss [...]

    5. Collins was U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001-2003, and still is one of America’s most loved and successful contemporary poets both in monetary and critical terms. I am, as I have stated before, attracted to formalist poetry, to fairly distinct and repetitive rhyme and rhythm. My enjoyment of Collins then, came as a bit of a surprise. Picnic, Lightning is a collection of everyday musings in poetic form and from what I can ascertain, this is standard for Collins’ kind of poetry. Indeed his poem In [...]

    6. Billy Collins is a national treasure. He is a poet who communicates without artifice. His poems are pleasures to read. "It was after dinner.You were talking to me across the tableabout something or other,a greyhound you had seen that dayor a song you liked."and I was looking past youover your bare shoulder at the three oranges lyingon the kitchen counternext to the small electric bean grinder,which was also orange,and the orange and white cruets for vinegar and oil."All of which converged into a [...]

    7. Picnic, Lightning is a collection of poetry by the two time Poet LaureateBilly Collins. This book came highly recommended to me by my dear friend Carolyn, as indeed did all of the poetry books that have lately been filling my GoodReads shelves. This one in particular she said she had a feeling I'd like, and indeed I fell for it from the first the moment she explained the title to me. How was I to know the very contents of the book would not only live up to the intrigue of the title, but in many [...]

    8. Didn't mean to re-read this whole book, but picked it up to read while my niece was reading, and couldn't put it back down. There are so many favorites in this book, so many that send chills of recognition with the last line, and others that make me laugh, and even more often, the chill-sending lines, and funny lines, come right after each other. Every time I laughed, my niece asked me what was funny, and so I read her poems, and bits of poems, and sometimes she got the humor, and sometimes she [...]

    9. I still don't know very much about poetry. I don't know where to go to find new poets. I have little sense of the time and effort it takes to craft a poem. All I do know is that ever since I was introduced to Billy Collins' poetry, I have loved it very, very much. I've written reviews for two of his books of poetry previously, and I'm not really sure what new to say, except that Picnic, Lightning (a reference to Nabokov's Lolita) is similarly marvellous.Note: The rest of this review has been wit [...]

    10. There are some really good poems in this book, MAYBE one or two great ones… but the good stuff to filler ratio seems skewed to the negative.

    11. I'm reading more poetry! At least slowly over the last few months. Now, I've jumped into a collection of Billy Collins' own poems, of which I own several, but haven't read through any yet. From the poems I've read (it's hard to take high school English for four years and teach it for three and not read Billy Collins), I thought Collins was interesting, clever, but basic. I feel ashamed of that now.Reading through Picnic, Lightning, I understand that Billy Collins is a master. One of the better a [...]

    12. I only expect to like one or two (or if I really like the writer 5 or 6) poems in a book of poetry. Poetry can be a very individual thing and it takes a lot of focus to really catch what a writer is trying to throw.After the first few I thought this book would fit that pattern. I was surprised when I deeply enjoyed the next dozen, and several more after that. Not overly long, obsessed with large words, or plumbing the depths. Often fairly simple. Neat little surprise images in almost every poem. [...]

    13. Another great poetry collection from Billy Collins. His writing style involves accessible storytelling, typically linking two disparate domains (e.g jazz and nature), often with underlying humor. I'm a huge fan of this. My two fave standouts from this collection:Marginalia-- the pleasures of writing and reading notes along the page margins of booksThe Many Faces of Jazz-- the conversion of jazz into facial reaction. A musical/facial version of synesthesia.

    14. Collins will stun you with his simplicity in this work. Just when you thought analyzing the most important moments in life was the work of an author, Collins turns you on your ear. He makes the world a simple place, where life is not a search for answers, but an observation of the personal passage that makes every individual unique and commonplace at the same time. He is a master of his art in many ways. Some of the poems, you will find quite commonplace and not at all illuminating. However, jus [...]

    15. First off, I'll just come right out and say you'll never hear me give a positive review of a poem or a book of poems unless it starts with Roses are red, Violets are blueor something of that nature. And therefore do not let my review sway you one way or the other about wanting to read this book.I don't understand poetry, I don't understand the style of writing, I don't understand the definition of poetry. This book did nothing to clear up any of my questions. Just a bunch of fragmented sentences [...]

    16. This is my favorite Billy Collins book so far. My favorite poem in the book is "Marginalia" and the last line is the best. I will not say what it is because I encourage anyone to read Billy Collins poetry. First the poem is about what you find in the pages of books that people have left behind.It made me realize that I have never really gotten angry at an author. I would like to find a book or an author to get angry about, I suppose. This does bring me to my realization of Billy Collins poetry b [...]

    17. A Portrait of the Reader with a Bowl of CerealEvery morning I sit across from youat the same small table,the sun all over the breakfast things—curve of a blue-and-white pitcher,a dish of berries—me in a sweatshirt or robe,you invisible.Most days, we are suspendedover a deep pool of silence.I stare straight through youor look out the window at the garden,the powerful sky,a cloud passing behind a tree.There is no need to pass the toast,the pot of jam,or pour you a cup of tea,and I can hide beh [...]

    18. In my mind, if a successful poem must surprise you. And a poet can do that in a few ways:1) Use language so original you wish you had thought of it yourself2) Bring you to see something in a new light3) Combine form and content in a way you never thought of beforeThere are more, but those are the main ones that surprise me.Billy Collins can do this using all three of those methods. He is by far the most accessible poet I have ever seen. He has a way of helping you into a world of ordinary but be [...]

    19. Poetry. This volume shows a more serious side of Collins. Like all his work, these poems are easy to read -- the language straightforward and relaxed -- but the tone's a bit different. For the most part, these poems are quiet and reflective, not what I've come to expect from Collins. I missed the overt silliness, but he still brings his playful humor to the domestic, and throws in a hint of sadness too. He spends a lot of time talking about his house, jazz, his writing. Some favorites: A Portrai [...]

    20. The poem 'I Go Back to the House for a Book' speaks so strongly to me, as I suspect it would for many readers. The idea is that by going back into the house to get the book that you split yourself into a couple of people, one of whom is always tagging behind the other (who didn't go back to get the book). If 'true', I'm a long queue by nowAnother poem in this collection that I love because it is local to Philadelphia is 'Fishing on the Susquehanna in July', although I guess a lot of people who e [...]

    21. collins' poetry is amorphous, not only in their shape and style, but also in the feelings they capture. he's got some lovely imagery "buzzing around the room on caffeine"but it seems like he never really goes anywhere meanful with it. while i don't hate his work - he's got some talent - i'm hard pressed to say how he wound up poet laureate.

    22. Probably my favorite collection of his so far. While I was somewhat disappointed by The Rain in Portugal, going back to this one rejuvenated my admiration for Collins' work. Picnic, Lightning is far too good to neglect; read it.

    23. Billy Collins became our poet laureate in 2001 and 2003 by copying out the least boring sections of his journal and adding line breaks between every grammatical clause, proving definitively that the American public has no ear for pleasing sounds and no eye for moderately evocative images.

    24. 1. A Portrait of the Reader with a Bowl of CerealEvery morning I sit across from youat the same small table,the sun all over the breakfast things—curve of a blue-and-white pitcher,a dish of berries—me in a sweatshirt or robe,you invisible.Most days, we are suspendedover a deep pool of silence.I stare straight through youor look out the window at the garden,the powerful sky,a cloud passing behind a tree.There is no need to pass the toast,the pot of jam,or pour you a cup of tea,and I can hide [...]

    25. Portrait of the Reader with a Bowl of CerealIt was after dinner.You were talking to me across the tableabout something or other,a greyhound you had seen that dayor a song you liked,and I was looking past youover your bare shoulderat the three oranges lyingon the kitchen counternext to the small electric bean grinder,which was also orange,and the orange and white cruets for vinegar and oil.All of which convergedinto a random still life,so fastened together by the hasp of color,and so fixed behind [...]

    26. Collins is a rare poet whose meanings are clear in first readings. While I like that in a way, it also means that his work in not very challenging in concepts, structure, or language. There are only a couple of poems I wanted to share with friends and most do not earn a close reading. I am especially disappointed in the lack of poetic values such as revealing metaphors and similes, though Collins may address this in the penultimate poem in this collection, "My Life," wherein the poet compares hi [...]

    27. I may be finished with my foray into Collins's work. He is a good writer, and has the ability to bring the reader into the place he has created, but I do not find myself engrossed as I do others. His work focuses on such genre things that I can't even remember most of the poems I read. Like before, I buzzed through the book in a single sitting. I crave the kind of poetry that forces me to set the book down to think about what I have read. Collins does not even remotely come close to that for me. [...]

    28. Billy Collins has an uncanny ability to take a moment (shoveling snow, morning, observing a cow in a pasture) and crystallize it into a deeper thought about life, relationships, or this moment in time, culturally. His poems are little miracles.

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