Right before heading out for vacation it seemed a perfect week to revisit one of my favorite authors; a poet, no less. I love Billy Collins and after reading two of his collections (Ballistics this year and Nine Horses a while back) I was anxious to pick up a third. THE TROUBLE WITH POETRY AND OTHER POEMS was the lucky winner. The title alone cinched this week’s selection for me.

I mean, there’s so much trouble with poetry, isn’t there? Or maybe it’s there’s so much trouble with me and poetry. Poetry and I have a long and sordid history. One that involves a lot of not getting along and total misunderstandings. Then Billy came along and he was like the new poetry boyfriend that really “got me”.


That all being said, the trouble with THE TROUBLE WITH POETRY is that overall, it’s not my favorite of his collections, yet it has my all-time favorite poem of his in it: The Lanyard.


Trouble, indeed.


In simple words that evoke real emotions, Collins is able to show the attempt a child makes in saying thank you to his mother for all that she has done (including giving him life) by making her a lanyard at summer camp. It’s funny and poignant and nothing short of wonderful. You, Reader; On Traveling Alone; On Not Finding You at Home; Class Picture, 1954; Fool Me Good and The Trouble with Poetry are my favorites after one reading.


While there are a handful of great poems in THE TROUBLE WITH POETRY, there are a number that I didn’t connect with. Despite this, I am not sensing trouble in paradise just yet. I am finding that poetry is often something to be contemplated and considered and may not hit the spot after the first reading and I am okay with that. This reconciliation poetry and I have going on is still very much in the beginning stages. It’s definitely too soon to throw in the towel. I think we are both willing to spend some time on it and see where it all goes. I might even start reading other poetry because of it.


Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 112
Genre: Poetry