Musical Tables: Poems (Hardcover)
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“Whenever I pick up a new book of poems, I flip through the pages looking for small ones. Just as I might have trust in an abstract painter more if I knew he or she could draw a credible chicken, I have faith in poets who can go short.”—Billy Collins
You can spot a Billy Collins poem immediately. The amiable voice, the light touch, the sudden turn at the end. He "puts the ‘fun’ back in profundity,” says poet Alice Fulton. In his own words, his poems tend to “begin in Kansas and end in Oz.”
Now “America’s favorite poet” (The Wall Street Journal) has found a new form for his unique poetic style: the small poem. Here Collins writes about his trademark themes of nature, animals, poetry, mortality, absurdity, and love—all in a handful of lines. Neither haiku nor limerick, the small poem pushes to an extreme poetry’s famed power to condense emotional and conceptual meaning. Inspired by the small poetry of writers as diverse as William Carlos Williams, W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, and Charles Simic, and written with Collins’s recognizable wit and wisdom, the poems of Musical Tables show one of our greatest poets channeling his unique voice into a new phase of his exceptional career.
Only my hand
but it’s a start.
“Collins’s short poems warm the soul. Like koans and haiku, these micro-lyrics roam a range of tone and feeling, from elegies to epiphanies to bone-dry witticisms. . . . His formal compression is deft; his insights, arresting.”—Oprah Daily
“Collins has said that the short poem is a sort of test for a poet: just as an artist should be able to draw a simple chicken, the poet should be able to channel meaning, emotion, profundity, and humor all through a couple of lines. Perhaps Collins is also aware of society’s rapidly diminishing attention span, but he has created an undaunting, readable book of poetry that will appeal to all ages and hit you where it hurts.”—LitHub
“Billy Collins, a former poet laureate of the United States, is a real gem. He’s a poet whose writing manages to be accessible, poignant and funny at the same time.”—The Palm Beach Post